The Renewal of a Walking Crisis at the U.S. Border
The second caravan of Central American migrants in 2021 started its journey to the U.S. a week ago, from the town of San Pedro Sula, in northern Honduras, amid the health crisis and restrictions generated by the coronavirus pandemic. The Jesuit Network with Migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean (RJM-LAC), an organization that accompanies victims of forced migration and displaced persons and refugees from internal conflicts in the region, reported that on March 30, 2021, two migrant caravan groups left the city. Another group is expected to leave Honduras this week. “The people leaving are moving towards Corinto, the border between Guatemala and Honduras,” said the Network representative. Gang violence, extractivist policies, and lack of economic opportunities are among the main reasons most migrants come from the Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) to the U.S. southern border in recent years.
From January to March 2021, the government authorities from Guatemala and Mexico have identified more than 34,993 migrants in transitory conditions throughout the country; 7,643 more than in the same period last year. In the previous week, some 4,000 migrants have entered Mexican soil, half of them into Chiapas and Tabasco states. They are coming primarily from Honduras, followed by Guatemala and El Salvador (56.21, 21.91, and 7.3 percent of the caravans, respectively). See more information here:
Reverend Feliberto Pereira, Executive Director of the Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries (S.W.G.S.M.), a Global Ministries longstanding Partner, continues to serve the migrant community. In a recent conversation with the Latin America and the Caribbean Area Executive, Rev. Pereira described how those caravans enter into U.S. soil and the work they developed in solidarity with migrants:
“The bus stations in U.S. territory are always full of women with children for relocation. Others await trials, and some are deported to Ciudad Juárez. At S.W.G.S.M., we are always on call. “They call me from Immigration once they approve asylum applications. Immigrants are left at the Gateway International Bridge, Brownsville, Texas. Immigrants have come to S.W.G.S.M. due to the Immigrant Protection Protocols (M.P.P.) of Ciudad Juárez.” The Protocols are part of a bilateral immigration agreement between Mexico and the United States and signed in January 2019. According to the Protocols, all Spanish-speaking persons who initiated immigration procedures in the United States after their entry without the required documentation will be deported to Mexico. Mexico will allow their stay in the country while the immigrants continue their process in a U.S. court. Rev. Pereira continued his narrative. “Families that cannot complete the asylum process or are denied on their request are usually flown from Brownsville to El Paso, within Texas. From there, they are sent to Ciudad Juarez. Nowadays and in practice, Ciudad Juárez has become a city of deportees.”
S.W.G.S.M. continues its work by providing legal aid, shelter, food, clothing, and bus tickets for migrants so they can be with relatives in the U.S. until completing their asylum-seeking process. “We are always receiving caravans. Some attract the lens of the press, but migration from Ciudad Juárez is always flowing. Our deepest and permanent concern is the situation and the well-being of the children. We are more active in the process of providing legal aid to asylum seekers. Very recently, we stopped the deportation of a Peruvian woman, who had had four administrative trials while appearing at the Bridge in Ciudad Juárez, without success. In the fifth trial, we were able to intervene, and the woman was able to appear in court and successfully request asylum.”
Global Ministries welcomes gifts in support of Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries (S.W.G.S.M.) – please put S.W.G.S.M. in the Project/Partner box giving online or in the memo line if offering by check. Gifts also are welcome at Global H.O.P.E. (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing [O.G.H.S.], U.C.C.) for humanitarian responses within the United States in the asylum-seeking crisis and to Week of Compassion (Disciples of Christ) with the designation Refugees.