Author Archive

The Truth About Migrant Buses, and How to Help Migrants in Your City

For six months the governors of Texas and Arizona have been bussing migrants to DC, and later to New York, as a political stunt. The effort recently gained nationwide media attention when Governor DeSantis of Florida took credit for flying asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, without giving any advance notice.

The migrants were told that they would go to Boston, where they would gain access to work opportunities. Instead, they were stranded on the vacation island, whose inhabitants  immediately mobilized to greet the migrants despite a complete lack of institutional resources. 

The state later offered migrants who wanted to leave Martha’s Vineyard transportation to a military base on Cape Cod, a designated emergency shelter. Currently, they are receiving pro-bono legal services as they decide where to relocate more permanently.  

A Boston nonprofit, Lawyers for Civil Rights, has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the migrants stranded in Martha’s Vineyard. The suit was later joined by Alianza Americas, a nationwide network of migrant-led organizations. 

They allege that Governor DeSantis targeted, coerced, and misled migrants into boarding the airplane, thus interfering with the efficacy of the federal immigration process. 

This story is not new, but echoes another dark chapter in American history. In the 1960s, as a reaction to the Freedom Rides of civil rights activists,  Southern segregationists misled African Americans with promises of better opportunities into taking “Reverse Freedom Rides” to cities in the North. 

To take delight in this political ploy is to rejoice at the exploitation of already vulnerable groups, of families and people who have fled and crossed through unimaginable dangers to be here, only to be deceived and humiliated by the country that was supposed to welcome them. 

Welcoming people with dignity is far less costly. The state of Texas has spent over $14 million to fund the program, Arizona has spent over $3.5 million to transport migrants to Washington DC, and Florida’s flights to Martha Vineyard alone cost an estimated half a million dollars.  

These millions would have been much better spent in the hands of existing mutual aid networks and nonprofits already at the border, who often lack the funds necessary to secure transportation for migrants. It would have also saved similar networks in DC, New York City, and Chicago hundreds of thousands of dollars in plane and bus tickets to get asylum seekers to where they actually wanted to go in the first place. 

But beyond the political machinations, the real focus of every story should be on the fierce welcoming that is taking place across the country. 

Every state that has received migrant buses and planes, despite the lack of warning or resources to greet them, has immediately stepped up to welcome them, from Washington DC to Sacramento, California. And in Texas, the work of welcoming has been happening for decades. 

In Washington DC and New York City, solidarity networks sprung up practically overnight to help receive migrants, and have sustained themselves for months on end with little to no institutional support. 

This work is far from over. Here are a few of the places that have received migrant buses, and how to support those who are working on the ground to help. 

Washington DC

Between April and September of this year, DC welcomed more than 6,230 migrants sent from Texas and Arizona. This would not have been possible without the rapid response and organizing of the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, led by Sanctuary DMV.  While buses are increasingly heading to New York, the need for volunteers and donations is boundless, as a high percentage of asylum seekers have chosen to make DC their new home. 

New York

At the beginning of the busing, DC, and later NYC, would typically receive between 1-3 buses per day. In New York City in recent weeks, that number has climbed to as many as eight buses per day. The lack of coordination from Texas officials is generating a humanitarian crisis in the city, amongst an already overloaded shelter system. 

Alarmingly, Mayor Adams is planning to build a tent city in the Bronx to accommodate asylum seekers, despite NYC’s right to shelter mandate that applies to all regardless of immigration status. 

Team TLC NYC has been leading welcoming efforts. 

  • You can donate HERE to support their work
  • Click here to volunteer to greet new arrivals. 
  • Click here to buy essential supplies from online wishlist. 

Chicago

On August 31st, Chicago received 100 migrants. 

Mayor Lightfoot has committed to providing support and resources, with help from the state and federal government, to welcome the arrivals. In response, the city of Chicago has created a volunteer and donation form

  • Volunteer to greet new arrivals. 
  • Drop off *brand new* donations here. To see the list of necessities, click here

Sacramento

Last week, a group of Venezuelan migrants were reportedly flown to Sacramento, California from Texas. It remains unclear who purchased their tickets. NorCal Resist is leading the charge to welcome these migrants and stated that it is unclear whether this is part of a political stunt or a mistake by ICE or CBP.

NorCal Resist also assists newly-arrived immigrants with housing, food, legal aid, medical assistance, and more. You can donate to support their efforts HERE.

The staff of Quixote Center is supporting the mutual aid effort in DC through volunteer hours, and through publicizing their efforts. 

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Hispanic Heritage Month: The Everyday Heroes of La 72  

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are highlighting leaders from Latin America that have dedicated their lives to promoting peace and justice.  

I have met very few people as brave and committed to serving others as the staff at the La 72 migrant shelter in Tenosique, Mexico. 

72 crosses remember the 72 migrants killed in 2010

La 72 is named in memory of the 72 migrants who Las Zetas cartel killed in the 2010 San Fernando Massacre in Tamaulipas, Mexico. The shelter recently commemorated the 12th year anniversary of the massacre. In the shelter’s chapel, 72 crosses hang on the walls, marking the nationalities and names of the victims; some remain blank in memory of those who have yet to be identified.  

Just a few miles from the Guatemalan border, La 72 is not far from the very real dangers that many migrants have fled to escape. But inside the shelter’s walls, everyone that we spoke to told us that they felt safe and were relieved to have found refuge, even if it was for just a moment along their journey.  

La 72 welcomes an average of 100 people per day. They offer basic necessities such as clothing and food, medical care, and different housing options based on gender, sexual orientation, and family status. But the services La 72 offers go far beyond many shelters.  

The shelter is structured to promote a sense of safety and dignity, giving special attention to those with specific needs: families, LGBTQ+ individuals, unaccompanied minors, and people with disabilities. They provide psychological counseling, a necessity given the horrors that most encounter along the migratory route, and give workshops on everything from gender-based violence and reproductive health to positive parenting. 

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La 72 also collaborates with local organizations, businesses, and government programs to help migrants that decide to stay in Tenosique better integrate into the Mexican culture and labor market.  

La 72 staff visit community members as part of the Structural Change program

The Structural Change program fosters a deeper relationship between migrants and the communities along the route from the Guatemalan border to Tenosique. Through regular workshops and outreach, they have successfully altered the narrative surrounding migration in the region, leading to a more nuanced understanding of who is migrating (e.g. families and children, as opposed to single men) and why.  

They also train local communities on both their own rights and the rights of immigrants, empowering them to serve as human rights defenders. We noticed along the road to Guatemala a number of water cisterns to allow migrants to refill their bottles and learned that La 72 had installed these in partnership with the local towns.  

As the United States struggles to confront growing racism and xenophobia, perhaps this model can serve as an example of effective communication within our own communities.  

Those who work to welcome migrants and denounce human rights abuses in Mexico face many dangers, from cartel violence to retribution by the government. But in spite of the potential dangers, the staff of La 72 remain steadfast in their dedication to helping the most vulnerable in society.   

To help ensure that this vital work continues, you can donate HERE to support La 72. 

If you are interested in learning more about La 72, we encourage you to apply for our upcoming solidarity trip, which will take place on November 14-18th. Click HERE to read more about the trip details, and HERE to submit an application. 

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On Anniversary of Del Rio Disaster, Immigration Advocates Demand End to Haitian Removals 

On Anniversary of Del Rio Disaster, Immigration Advocates Demand End to Haitian Removals 

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15th, 2022 

 Contact: Alexandra Gulden 

alexandra@quixote.org 

 

Washington DC—On the one-year anniversary of the human rights disaster in Del Rio, Texas, the Quixote Center and 19 organizational co-sponsors are delivering a petition to the White House calling on the Biden administration to halt all removals of Haitian migrants, including interdictions and repatriations at sea. The petition also appeared in The Hill and included over 600 individual signatures alongside co-sponsoring organizations.  

In mid-September of 2021, thousands of migrants began gathering at the Del Rio border crossing in Texas. The majority of the estimated 15,000 people who arrived over the course of a few days were from Haiti. In images that shocked the world, Border Patrol agents on horseback forced Haitian refugees into the Rio Grande, even appearing to use their reins to strike at fleeing migrants. Despite the national outrage, it took less than one week for the administration to disappear all 15,000 people from the public view.   

In the year since, the humanitarian crisis in Haiti continues to deteriorate. In July alone, over 500 people were killed as a result of armed groups fighting in Port-au-Prince. Last week, thousands of people across the country mobilized to protest the growing insecurity, rising costs, the fuel crisis, and Prime Minister Ariel Henry.  

The administration has expelled 26,700 Haitians since taking office, over 24,400 just since the Del Rio crisis in September of 2021. Additionally, since October of 2021, the Coast Guard has interdicted at least 7,137 Haitian migrants at sea. The vast majority have been immediately returned to Haiti. At least 220 deaths or disappearances of Haitian migrants have been reported at sea this year as a result of attempting this dangerous journey.  

“The human rights crisis in Del Rio laid bare the anti-Blackness and xenophobia inherent in our country’s immigration system. That the Biden administration continues to expel refugees to dire conditions in Haiti shows an utter lack of regard for Black and Brown lives,” said Dr. Kim Lamberty, Executive Director of the Quixote Center. “Seeking asylum is legal, no matter who seeks it or how. The administration must halt its policy of deterrence and removal, and acknowledge a real existing refugee crisis in Haiti, one that this country has contributed to creating.”  

“Who isn’t questioning why Haitian migrants are deported with such efficiency and vigor instead of supported as we do migrants from all other countries coming across our southern border at this time? We expect more compassion from this administration. Our Catholic faith, among many other faiths, teaches that every one of us is endowed with human dignity; no one is more important than another. The National Advocacy Center calls on President Biden and his administration to treat migrants from Haiti with respect, equality and welcome and to end the deportations,” said Fran Eskin-Royer, Executive Director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. 

“Haitians have the right to seek safety and the right to be treated with dignity while seeking safety. The images from Del Rio one year ago shocked our nation’s conscience and were a clarion call to confront the anti-Black racism that Haitians face while seeking asylum in the United States,” said Melina Roche, Campaign Manager of #WelcomeWithDignity. “Tragically, our government has returned more than 24,500 people, including young children, to a country in deep crisis. We joined our partners in delivering the petition to the White House to demand the administration stop its discriminatory expulsion of Haitians seeking protection and restore humanity and access to our asylum system.”  

“Maryknoll missioners in Haiti witness the unfolding three crises of violence, political corruption, and deepening poverty that make it clear that people fleeing to the United States from Haiti deserve protection,” said Susan Gunn, Director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. “Many Haitians are indeed fleeing for their lives, and it is our moral duty to welcome them. We ask President Biden to stop all removals of Haitian migrants and to follow the teachings of Pope Francis, to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate migrants who are so desperately in need of safety.” 

“The humanitarian catastrophe at Del Rio one year ago was a terrible example of the systemic violence that U.S. immigration authorities inflict on Haitians, including the highest rates of asylum denials and a disturbing history of offshore detention and maritime interdiction of asylum seekers,” said Anthony Enriquez, Vice President of U.S. Advocacy and Litigation at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “If the Biden Administration is serious about honoring its commitment to advance equity and racial justice, it must break with the U.S.’s long, bipartisan history of anti-Black violence in immigration and immediately halt removals of Haitians.”  

“We once again call on the administration to end all returns of our Haitian neighbors to danger and the continued use of policies that illegally block people from seeking U.S. protection at our borders,” said Jennifer Quigley, Senior Director for Government Affairs at Human Rights First. “It is past time that the U.S. government restore compliance with refugee law and ensure equitable treatment of all refugees regardless of their skin color.” 

Joining the petition led by the Quixote Center are the American Civil Liberties Union, Beyond Borders, Catholics Against Racism in Immigration, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, Faithful America, Haiti Response Coalition, Haitian Bridge Alliance, Human Rights First, Justice Action Center, Lawyers for Good Government, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Pax Christi USA, PCUSA, Religious of Jesus and Mary, RFK Human Rights, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, The Sidewalk School, and the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign.  


 

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The Truth About Busing Migrants from the Border to DC: A Story of Welcoming

UPDATE: The DC Attorney General’s office, whose funding is separate from that of the mayor’s office, has announced a grant program of $150,000 to aid nonprofits leading the welcoming response. We welcome this news, but unfortunately this level of funding is still woefully inadequate to meet the needs of mutual aid groups. 

In April, Governor Abbott of Texas began sending migrants from the US southern border to Washington, DC, with Arizona joining soon after. So far, Texas and Arizona have collectively bused over 7,000 migrants from the border to DC, and now Texas is beginning to send buses to New York City as well.  

 The narrative cycling around conservative media outlets is that Governors Abbott and Ducey have “stuck it to the Dems” by “bringing the border crisis” to their front doors. Abbott and Ducey are using migrant families, who are real people with hopes, dreams, and unimaginable journeys, as political pawns to spin a media narrative about an “immigrant invasion.” There are anecdotal reports of migrants being coerced onto the buses, told that they will be taken to their desired destination, and then sent to DC or New York instead.  

At the same time, many migrants have also been able to benefit from the program, because DC or New York are much closer to their final destination than the Texas or Arizona border. Others don’t have a final destination in mind. Forced to flee their homes, they are content to board a bus to DC or New York City, where, they are told, there will be resources and jobs waiting for them.  

In the case of DC, it is true that the buses have overwhelmed these resources. But this is not the fault of a “migrant crisis,” or the migrants themselves, but of a lack of institutional will to act.  

From day one, a mutual aid network of volunteers, activists, and immigrants’ rights advocates has been mobilizing to welcome and assist migrants arriving in DC despite a vacuum of institutional support from local or federal government. Though FEMA has provided federal funds to SAMU First Response, the main nonprofit officially in charge of coordinating, it has been woefully inadequate to keep up with the needs of receiving, housing, and transporting migrants.  

Sanctuary DMV, through the organizing and willpower of its volunteers, has been able to welcome thousands without such support. In New York City, a mutual aid and solidarity network led by Team TLC NY  is already assembling volunteers to greet and process migrants.  

Both cities’ governments have struggled with how to respond, further complicated by a lack of communication and cooperation from Texas regarding the arrivals.   

 The DC Department of Human Services has been illegally excluding migrant families from the shelter system despite available bed space, denying them critical resources such as a case manager, who could assist in school enrollment, health insurance, and receiving medical treatment. 

 Neither the city or federal government are willing to play a direct role in addressing what immigrant advocates say is a building humanitarian crisis. Indeed, the government’s failure to act is causing the humanitarian crisis in the first place. DC’s Mayor Bowser has not allocated any local funds or government resources to welcoming efforts, despite being able to apply to FEMA for reimbursement, and city officials have been encouraging nonprofits to seek additional federal aid instead.  

 The federal government declined Mayor Bowser’s request for assistance from the National Guard to process migrants, though she plans to renew this request. Sanctuary DMV has pushed back on this request, noting that doing so only serves to further militarize the reception of migrants, and that the city should instead focus on existing services, such as expanding shelter capacity, social services, and language access.  

 New York’s Mayor Adams claimed that migrants were overwhelming the shelter system before Governor Abbott had even begun sending buses. As aid groups pointed out, the shelter system was already overwhelmed by a variety of factors, such as understaffing and rising evictions.  

 To his credit, Adams quickly mobilized emergency measures to accommodate migrants in the shelter system, and appeared in person to greet migrants. Serious challenges still remain, as a new report shows that migrant families are being separated when entering the NYC shelter system. But perhaps Mayor Bowser can consider following in New York’s example and finally commit to welcoming.  

 It is important to remember despite the murky intersection of city, state, and federal politics, and despite the narrative being further weaponized by anti-immigrant media outlets and politicians, the communities of DC and New York City have stepped up.  

 “We recently learned that people have donated about $160,000 to Governor Abbott’s effort to bus people to DC. And we – the DC community – have raised over $350,000,”  said Amy Fischer, Americas Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA, and who has been actively welcoming with Sanctuary DMV. 

 “While politicians on both sides of the aisle use fear-mongering tactics to undermine the human right to seek asylum, we know that is not reflective of communities. When we feel overwhelmed with the numbers arriving, or the lack of capacity, our answer is not to tell people not to come. Our answer is to call for more support to expand our capacity to welcome, not shut the door.” 

 Ways to Help 

There are several ways that anyone, anywhere, can take action today: 

 If you are based in DC, there are a couple of ways to help aside from making a donation:  

  • Click to send a letter, tweet, or phone call 
  • Spanish, French, and Portuguese speakers are greatly needed. Volunteers are also needed to sort donations and for clean-up.  
  • Clothing, toiletries, and baby supplies are most needed.  

 In New York City, Team TLC NYC has been leading the welcoming efforts. Click HERE to support.  

 

 

 

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Quixote Center Celebrates Victories Against Anti-Immigrant Policies 

Quixote Center Celebrates Victories Against Anti-Immigrant Policies 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 9th, 2022 

Contact: Alexandra Gulden 

alexandra@quixote.org 

Washington DC – The Quixote Center celebrates victories against two Trump-era policies: the defeat of Congressional amendments aimed at extending Title 42, and the effective end of the “Remain in Mexico” program.  

Over the weekend, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, landmark health and climate legislation, without anti-immigrant amendments that threatened to extend Title 42 indefinitely. On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will no longer enroll asylum seekers in MPP, commonly referred to as “Remain in Mexico,” and those who are currently enrolled will be allowed to await their scheduled court dates in the U.S. 

“We thank all our partners, supporters, and elected officials who have made phone calls, written letters, and made a stand to demand an end to inhumane and anti-immigrant policies like Title 42 and the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program,” said Quixote Center Executive Director Dr. Kim Lamberty. “Together, these policies have jeopardized the safety of families and adults fleeing from danger, leading to over 10,000 violent attacks against migrants and asylum seekers.  

“The fight is not yet over, as Title 42 remains in place, and immigrant communities continue to face invasive surveillance and detention. We urge the Biden administration to swiftly take all necessary steps to end both Title 42 and ‘Remain in Mexico’, and take action to humanely welcome migrants and asylum seekers, rather than continue to cruelly detain, deport, and expel those seeking safety.” 

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The Quixote Center empowers vulnerable families and communities to become the artisans of their own destiny through transforming oppressive systems and structures. Inspired by liberation theology and Catholic Social Teaching, we do this through sustainable development, advocacy, economic justice, environmental, and educational initiatives. Our current focus is on Nicaragua and Haiti, where we support programs to empower impoverished families and communities, and support for migrants in Mexico and Central America, where we work to mitigate the damage of US immigration policies. Together with our partners, we dream of a world more justly loving. 

 

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Reflections from Tenosique

In June, I had the opportunity to visit migrant shelters operating under the Franciscan Network on Migration, a Quixote Center partner, in southern Mexico. No two shelters were alike. To walk across the threshold was to enter a new kind of haven, each beautiful and kinetic in its own way. La 72 in Tenosique seemed always to be bursting with energy, with some migrants entering and leaving the shelter in just a day, and others staying long-term as they worked to determine their next steps and heal.

“We try to make their stay here as pleasant as possible,” said Alejandra, a lawyer at La 72. A hundred people reside in La 72 on any given day. Despite the immense volume of people circulating in and out, the staff and volunteers were filled with unbridled compassion and energy to confront the needs of highly vulnerable populations.  

The Structural Change Program at La 72, as Alejandra explained, aims to both materially improve the quality of life in border communities and foster a more positive and nuanced view of migrants. La 72 staff regularly visits communities and hosts workshops on immigration law and human rights, empowering communities to defend migrants, as well as their own rights.  

Casa Belén, located just across the border in Guatemala, was deserted when we arrived, as most migrants stop there for a night and continue on their way in the morning. La 72 and Casa Belén work together closely to address cases of families separated on the journey, unaccompanied children, and people in a situation of violence; in cases like these, people can stay longer.

In contrast, Casa del Caminante in Palenque has a separate area for longer-term residents, usually families who are applying for refugee status in Chiapas. Their module, complete with a separate kitchen, houses individual dorms for each family. We saw children running around the courtyard’s playground, delighted to have the space to be children.  

In Santa Martha, Chiapas, we were warmly received by two Catholic sisters at Casa Betania. Despite the town’s sleepy appearance, the sisters noted that “every kind of trafficking”—from drugs to humans—is commonplace. But in the shelter’s courtyard, decorated in brightly-colored banners and a large pride flag, such dangers felt far away. 

Map of migratory route

Each shelter is located along the old route of La Bestia, a network of freight trains used by migrants to travel North. It no longer runs in the areas we visited, but in Santa Martha and Palenque, many migrants still undertake the same journey by walking along the tracks. 

We learned from COMAR, the Mexican government’s refugee office, that if applicants for refugee status in Mexico leave the state in which they applied initially, they forfeit their application. In southern Mexico, this was problematic for several reasons. In the South (especially in Chiapas, ranked Mexico’s most impoverished state) it is difficult for migrants to find work. Second, if a migrant in Tenosique needs to travel to Villahermosa for any reason, such as finding work or accessing specialized medical care, they first need to pass through Chiapas, a different state, to get there. This policy leaves migrants trapped in communities struggling to find work. The Franciscan Network was set up to respond to this crisis. 

 Looking to the Future 

As we reflect on everything that we experienced and learned, the Quixote Center team hopes to plan another delegation to southern Mexico before the end of this year! And, we work to ensure that our partners at the Franciscan Network on Migration receive as much from this partnership as we have.   

“The Franciscan Network for Migrants appreciates the support and constant collaboration of Quixote Center to our organization,” wrote Vianey, our RFM liaison at La 72. “This visit was the first and we are in the dialogue to plan more to the southern border of Mexico. We also thank the migrant shelters who received us despite their commitments. We admire the hard work they do every day to seek the defense of the human rights of migrants. It doesn’t matter if we are from different religions or secular, we are always willing to work together for our brothers and sisters. We hope to meet again soon!” 

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Migration should be the flight for the dream of life, not death

The following is a translation of a statement by our partners at the Franciscan Network on Migration on the tragedy in Texas, in which 53 migrants were found dead. To read the original statement in Spanish, click HERE

PUBLIC STATEMENT 

To the Governments of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Honduras, the United States of America 

To any person in good faith. 

Migration should be the flight for the dream of life, not death 

In Texas, on June 29, 2022, the heat, overcrowding, and lack of oxygen ended the lives of more than 50 migrants abandoned in a trailer that was transporting them as they searched for better living conditions; human beings who were forced to leave their country of origin because of injustice and high rates of violence, events that found them in other lands. 

The Franciscan Network for Migrants (RFM) declares our indignation and dismay at the human tragedy experienced by migrants in the territories not only of Northern America, but also in Mexico. Countries whose principles are the “Republic and democracy” as institutions that safeguard the freedom and life of society. We join in the pain that these families are experiencing; with you, we share our prayers and solidarity. 

As they intend to renew policies and practices that criminalize and affect the human rights of every person who migrates, it is urgent that the countries of Central America and Mexico react to move from containment to protection. In the current regional scenario, vulnerable migrants do not have many options to leave, transit, and reach their destinations safely. This leads them to seek paths that put their human dignity, integrity, health, and, in many cases, even their lives at risk. 

As RFM, we call on the competent authorities of the United States to thoroughly investigate the facts and find those responsible for this unfortunate tragedy, as well as to work to eradicate human trafficking. The situation also reflects how xenophobic-racist guidelines and practices only benefit organized crime networks. We condemn the impunity for the various crimes of which migrants are victims.  

We also demand that the governments of the United States of America, Mexico, and the countries of Central America respond to the commitment assumed by different human rights standards to guarantee the effective protection of the human rights of migrants, as well as their fundamental freedoms. 

 As Christians and Franciscans, we firmly believe in the dignity of every human being; that the encounter between cultures and groups enriches us; that justice, equity, and freedom are the basis for fraternity or “social friendship” between peoples; that the stranger is to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated into our societies, as God himself would do (Deuteronomy 19:34). St. Francis of Assisi was a friend and brother to all living people, no one was his enemy or considered him a “foreigner”; we have a political and spiritual legacy that recognizes that both human beings and creatures from  one family, that we live in the same house which is “our Sister, Mother Earth.” 

In these moments of solidarity of all peoples, as the RFM we continue to accompany migrants and their families who leave, transit, or seek to reside in the lands of the Americas: with our prayers, we unite ourselves to their pain. 

ADVOCACY COMMITTEE 

Franciscan Network on Migration 

  

The Franciscan Network on Migration is a network composed of: 

The Frontera Digna Shelter, Piedras Negras; Comedor San Francisco de Asís para Migrantes, Mazatlán; Casa Franciscana Guaymas A.C; Team Hogar Franciscano, Cholula, Puebla; La 72, Hogar Refugio para personas Migrantes, Tenosique; Casa Peregrina del Migrante “Santo Hermano Pedro”, Guatemala; Equipo RFM-Guatemala; Equipo RFM-Honduras; Equipo RFM-El Salvador; Equipo RFM-Panamá; Equipo RFM-Colombia; Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción de Durham; Carolina del Norte (USA); Migrantes Center of New York. Advocacy partners: Quixote Center, Franciscans International. 

 

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SCOTUS Ruling on “Remain in Mexico” Win for Migrant Communities, but Must Not Lead to Increased Detention

 

For Immediate Release: June 30, 2022  

Contact: Alexandra Gulden, alexandra@quixote.org  

 SCOTUS Ruling on “Remain in Mexico” Win for Migrant Communities, but Must Not Lead to Increased Detention 

Washington D.C.—Today, the Supreme Court ruled that the Biden Administration was lawful in its initial termination of the “Remain in Mexico” program, thus allowing for the Administration to finally end the cruel and inhumane policy.  

The Quixote Center celebrates this ruling as a win, but we must not forget the over 71,000 people who have been forced to await their asylum cases in Mexico, including vulnerable populations such as LGBTQ+ migrants and those with severe health conditions.  

 The “Remain in Mexico” policy has imposed irreversible harm on migrant communities. During the Trump Administration, there were at least 1,544 reported cases of violent attacks against people returned to Mexico, including murder, torture, and assault. Under Biden, the program has not been any safer and has continued to block asylum seekers from accessing legal counsel or obtaining a fair chance at asylum. 

 We urge the Biden Administration to immediately end “Remain in Mexico” and allow all enrolled in the program to await their cases in the United States. However, this policy must not and cannot be replaced with increased detention, expulsion, and surveillance of migrant families and asylum seekers in the United States. Instead, we urge the Administration to invest in opt-in community-based support services that offer migrants the tools to thrive, rather than continue the cycle of cruelty and suffering. 

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 The Quixote Center empowers vulnerable families and communities to become the artisans of their own destiny through transforming oppressive systems and structures. Inspired by liberation theology and Catholic Social Teaching, we do this through sustainable development, advocacy, economic justice, environmental, and educational initiatives. Our current focus is on Nicaragua and Haiti, where we support programs to empower impoverished families and communities, and support for migrants in Mexico and Central America, where we work to mitigate the damage of US immigration policies. Together with our partners, we dream of a world more justly loving. 

 

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Quixote Center Denounces Preliminary Injunction on Title 42

Quixote Center Denounces Preliminary Injunction on Title 42;  Continues Call for Restoration of Asylum 

 Washington D.C.Today a federal court in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction against the Biden administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to end Title 42. This decision means that the United States Border Patrol is required to continue to expel migrants immediately upon encounter, thus, denying refugees access to asylum or other humanitarian relief. 

“We are greatly dismayed by the court’s decision to continue to deny asylum seekers their right to seek safety,” stated the Quixote Center in response. “Title 42 is a failed policy that has been proven to do nothing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, nor has it been effective at deterring migration. There have been 1,934,097 expulsions under Title 42 since it went into effect in March of 2020.” 

On April 1, 2021, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the controversial set of public health rules used to close off asylum access would be ended on May 23, 2022.  

In response, the attorneys general of Louisiana, Arizona, and Missouri immediately filed a lawsuit to block the Biden administration from halting Title 42 enforcement. Eventually, seventeen more states joined the suit. U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays of Louisiana issued an injunction in April intended to keep the Biden administration from winding down Title 42 enforcement. Judge Summerhays issued the ruling today, arguing that “the Plaintiff States have established a substantial likelihood of success based on the CDC’s failure to comply with the rulemaking requirements of the [Administrative Procedure Act].” 

“Keeping the cruel and illegal Title 42 policy in place will only serve to place migrant families and adults back into the dangerous conditions they are fleeing,” continued the Quixote Center. “Asylum is a universal human right, and we will not stop working to restore an asylum system that welcomes people fleeing violence and persecution in a humane and dignified manner.” 

 

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DC Welcomes Migrants from the Border—and How to Help

Columbus Circle outside Union Station

At 6 AM on a Wednesday, I joined community organizers and volunteers outside Union Station to greet migrants bused from the US-Mexico border to Washington DC. I expected everyone to arrive haggard and exhausted, as I feel after just a few hours on a bus. Instead, they came bright-faced and smiling, exuberant to have arrived.   

A month ago, Governor Abbott of Texas began sending buses of migrants from the Southern border to DC, in an effort to “take the border to Joe Biden.” While the move may have scored him a few political points with his typical base, it has had far from the intended effect, as DC groups—and the larger community—mobilized rapidly to welcome them.  

I met a woman from Nicaragua who was excited to be in DC and hoped to stay and find work in the District. A young couple from Venezuela was headed to Ohio, where they planned to find treatment for their pregnant sister-in-law. A father from Cuba had come on his own and was already searching for a way to support himself and his family back home.  

During the legal orientation, a representative asked if they had received a cellphone. Everyone there raised a black device, the basis of claims that the administration was “giving away free smartphones.” However, these were part of the so-called “alternatives to detention,” another method of invasive surveillance. The program requires migrants to constantly self-report their location through an app; all other functions on the device are disabled.   

Despite the discourse of Biden’s “open borders,” the reality is that seeking asylum remains the most difficult it has ever been. Title 42 has blocked over a million potential asylum seekers since the start of the pandemic. Though Biden has mostly blocked new border construction under Trump’s plan, he has quietly funneled billions into a digital border wall, from watchtowers and drones to a vast digital surveillance system. While I had seen the reports, it was startling to see this represented in the heart of Washington DC. 

How to Take Action 

That Abbott’s political stunt has not had the intended disrupting effect is in large part due to the organizing and mutual aid efforts by Sanctuary DMV. But it seems that Texas, and now Arizona, plan to ramp up the number of migrants sent to D.C., just as volunteers and organizers are at capacity.  

Now is the time to step up and demonstrate that our communities are capable of welcoming our new neighbors with dignity and respect. Here are just a few ways to help: 

  • Volunteer: If you are in the DMV, there are many ways to volunteer, from sorting donations to greeting new arrivals. Spanish, Portuguese, and French speakers are greatly needed.  
  • Gift supplies: Or ship supplies from anywhere through the wishlist. Undergarments, Men’s clothing, and toiletries are especially needed.
  • Donate to support mutual aid efforts.  

Click HERE for the full list of links.  

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Contact Us

  • Quixote Center
    P.O. Box 1950
    Greenbelt, MD 20768
  • Office: 301-699-0042
    Email: info@quixote.org

Directions to office:

6305 Ivy Lane, Suite 255. Greenbelt, MD 20770

For public transportation: We are located near the Green Belt metro station (green line)