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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August 14, 2021 Haiti Earthquake Anniversary

Early in the morning of 14 August 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwest Haiti, killing 1200 people, injuring 12,000, and causing hospitals, schools and homes to collapse. Hundreds of thousands of people were in immediate need of humanitarian assistance, and many still are. 

The Quixote Center has been working in Haiti since 1999 and we maintain strong and trusted partnerships. As a result, we were able to mobilize funds for short and medium-term assistance to those most in need. Thanks to the donations we received from supporters, Quixote Center sent the following earthquake relief funds to Haiti: 

$2,000 to Kolektif pou Lakay. This funded food and sanitation kits to smaller communities in the Les Cayes area.  

$2,000 to Fondasyon Mapou. This went to support delivery of emergency supplies to the community of Baraderes. 

$12,000 to the Haiti Response Coalition. The Quixote Center serves on the executive committee of the HRC and was involved in planning HRC responses. Funds went to a direct cash assistance program and to general funds to support temporary staff/mobilizers to coordinate programs with community leaders in all three departments impacted by the earthquake. 

$2,400 through the Religious of Jesus and Mary, long time partners in programming in Gros Morne. These funds supported emergency seed delivery from Gros Morne to communities in the southern peninsula communities of Toirac and surrounding areas like Mailloux, Sous De Vie and Barat. Seeds enabled small-scale farmers to replant after losing their crops to the earthquake. 

Our earthquake response work continues through our membership in the Haiti Response Coalition (HRC). In June the HRC convened a conference in Haiti to improve coordination, support Haitian-led responses, and discuss long-term emergency preparedness. This will diminish the need for outside assistance and coordination during emergencies and improve Haiti’s capacity to lead its own emergency response when the time comes. 

 We send our gratitude to you, our donors, which make this work possible. In recent weeks many of you have asked us for our take on what can be done to respond to the current crisis of violence and governance in Haiti. Stay tuned for our post on that topic next week.  

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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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A Teacher’s Reflections on the Quixote Center’s Solidarity Trip

Mural at La 72 Migrant Shelter

Two days before the Quixote Center trip to Mexico, a local journalist called me. Louisiana legislators had just drafted a proposal allowing teachers to bring guns to school, and the press wanted a comment from a local teacher. Just ten days after the Uvalde shooting, leaders hastily crafted legislation to demonstrate their resolve in preventing such tragedies in Louisiana.  

“As an educator and a parent, Ms. Molina,” said WDSU’s anchorman Sherman Desselle. “What’s your response to this proposal?”  

“Teachers and students have the right to expect that their schools will be safe,” I said. “It is the responsibility of our public officials and security officers to protect us. Shifting that responsibility to teachers is not fair.” 

Three days later with the murder of nineteen school children and their two teachers still haunting my country’s conscience, I listened as Honduran, Guatemalan, and Ugandan women recounted story after story of their own leaders’ abdication of responsibility to protect them and their children in their homelands. Not one of them recited the “looking for a better life” story–the sanitized narrative of seeking economic security in the American Dream. Instead crushing details of sexual violence, extortion, kidnappings and murders of husbands, brothers, sisters, daughters and sons gushed from their mouths in a litany of terror and desperation.  

“We would not be here if the police had done their jobs,” said a young Guatemalan mother after escaping the narcotrafficker who kidnapped her and held her hostage for three months of rapes and beatings. 

Even as these women flee an astounding level of physical and sexual violence at home, the risk of such violence is extremely high on the road north. Not naïve, migrant women prepare as best as they can. They told us of being “vaccinated” for the journey—taking oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy if they are raped along the way.  

Each woman sighed as she recounted countless and futile attempts to seek protection and justice from law enforcement and human rights organizations. Each voiced the devastating lack of results, the dismissiveness of officials or even worse…the divulgence of their reports to gangs who retaliated with more intimidation, threats and violence.  

Every migrant woman’s story illustrated the scars of an institutional failure to protect them and their children, and the very name and walls of their temporary refuge, the Franciscan migrant shelter La 72, serve as poignant reminders that this failure is not merely anecdotal but historic and well-documented.  

La 72 is named in memory of 72 migrants who were massacred in Tamaulipas, Mexico in 2010. Today women and children fill the chapel of La 72, a memorial to the murdered migrants. Resting on floor mats with their backpacks and water bottles at their sides, they face the chapel’s altar wall where seventy-two crosses remind them of the tragic fate of their predecessors. Each cross bears the name of a murdered migrant and the flag of his/her country. Some have only the flag… “because we still don’t know the names of all the victims,” explained Alejandra Conde, La 72’s Coordinator of Structural Change. 

The killings are suspected to be the result of collusion between Mexican police officers and drug cartel leaders. In 2011, twelve Mexican police officers were detained on homicide charges in the case. But not until May of this year was anyone convicted and sentenced for crimes against the migrants. Even then, when a Mexican judge finally convicted eighteen drug cartel leaders, it was for the abduction, not of the murders, of the 72 migrants. 

The walls of La 72 do not let migrants or visitors forget the complicity of our nation’s leaders in the heartbreaking tragedy of forced migrations.  

 Another wall at La 72 features a map of the Americas. Former US President Donald Trump’s orange hair erupts into flames from which Latin American migrants appear. “Trump,” the mural admonishes in Spanish, “You will be the one who lights the fire of resistance of the peoples.” In the bottom right corner, the declaration is in Spanglish, “20 enero 2021 got out!!! Mr. Trump Fuera JOH.” The first is a reference to the last day of Trump’s term in office. The second is a popular Honduran political chant meaning “Out with JOH,” initials of former (2014-2022) Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez.  

Trump’s pressure on Mexico to militarize the border created even more dangerous conditions for migrants especially in light of historic corruption among Mexican police—as in the case of the Tamaulipas massacre.  

As for Hernandez, in April, the US government ordered his arrest and extradition on charges of alleged drug-trafficking conspiracy. Last year Hernandez’s brother, “Tony,” a former Honduran congressman, was sentenced in US court to life in prison for drug trafficking and bribery. The US Department of Justice contends that the former president and US ally allegedly received millions of dollars from cartel leaders in exchange for protection from arrest. Juan Orlando Hernandez, they say, allegedly:  

leveraged the Government of Honduras’ law enforcement, military, and financial resources…to protect drug traffickers…including his brother…from investigation, arrest, and extradition; caused sensitive law enforcement and military information to be provided to drug traffickers to aid them in transporting tons of cocaine through Honduras, bound for the United States; directed heavily-armed members of the Honduran National Police and Honduran military to protect drug shipments as they transited Honduras; and sanctioned brutal violence.

 

Alejandra Conde stands aside a mural that documents both moments of violent tragedy and Franciscan accompaniment in the migration experience.

1995: The Franciscan Province initiates attention to migrants.  

8/23/2010: Massacre, San Fernando, Tam [Tamaulipas where 72 migrants were killed].  

4/2011: Mass graves in Northern Mexico 400 tortured bodies  

4/23/2011: La 72 shelter for migrants [opens]  

2011: CNDH [Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos—the National Commission for Human Rights in Mexico] reports that more than 20,000 migrants were kidnapped in Mexico  

5/2012: Mutilated bodies in Cadereyta, NL [Nuevo León] 

1/5/2013: Attack at the train in Barrancas, Ver. [Vera Cruz] 

8/25/2013: Deaths of 12 people from a train derailment in Tembladera 

The exterior wall of the migrant men’s barracks bears the image of a young migrant who once stayed at La 72 and was killed after leaving the shelter to head north. “Our demand is minimal: JUSTICE,” reads the inscription across his chest.  

The walls of La 72 tell the stories of tragedy and exploitation, but they also tell tales of hope, strength, resourcefulness and solidarity.  


 Most of the shelters we visited display such road maps offering valuable information for migrants trying to navigate the ecosystem of exploitation and aid that lies ahead. Map key symbols include: roads, fees (approx.. $100), danger zones, assaults & kidnappings, migrant houses, soup kitchens, rivers, border walls. 

“We are humans. We have dignity. We deserve respect.”

“When [a] youth migrates, hope migrates.”

“When the woman migrates, life migrates.”

“When the family migrates, the social fabric migrates.”

“When the indigenous migrate, history migrates.” / “When the children migrate, the roots of human tenderness migrate.”  

La 72 offers separate living quarters as a safe space option for vulnerable populations such as LGBT community members.

Tomorrow I return to school where teachers will be preparing for students. We will plaster our classroom walls with historic figures, helpful information and inspirational quotes. Much like the volunteer artists at La 72, we hope our efforts can inform, guide, and encourage those who walk the hallways to navigate their paths carefully and pursue their dreams. We will remember our colleagues in Uvalde who will be doing the same.

Hispanics make up over 80% of the population in Uvalde, where a large immigrant community resides. It is painfully ironic that many of those families, like the ones at La 72, may have migrated to escape violence.  

So many migrants at La 72 and the other shelters that we visited voiced their deepest hopes to make it to the US…not because of its wealth but because of their perception of the US as “a country where the law is enforced,” a country where they and their children might be safe from the violence in their own countries and the violence they face on their journey. 

I pray that they will one day be able to breathe the sweet relief of being safe. That they will one day be able to stop running and hiding in fear. I, like those at La 72, will continue to hope and to believe in the strength of community and solidarity. But like those at La 72, I will also continue to hold our leaders accountable for the systemic failure that strips our families of dignity and peace.  

Migrant families, like US school children and teachers, have the right to expect that their communities will be safe—whether in their native lands or in the US. Political leaders and law enforcement officers are paid to protect our communities. When they fail us through corruption, apathy, racism, or incompetence, we will not perpetuate a narrative that shifts blame and responsibility to us. We will continue to hold them accountable, and I will not be packing a gun to school. 

 

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The Quixote Center Family Mourns Death of Long-time Board Member, Brother Francis J. O’Donnell 

Brother Frank with a helper at a Quixote Center board meeting in 2017

With great sadness, we announce the passing of long-time Board Member and friend, Br. Francis O’Donnell. Br. Frank died July 22, 2022, at Stella Maris Hospice of complications from injuries sustained in a fall. Br. Frank has been a member of the Quixote Center board for 8 years. 

We are grateful for his wisdom, steady guidance, dedication, good humor, and friendship. During his time as a board member, he has played several key roles, including several terms as Secretary, charter membership on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and revision of the employee handbook. It was easy for us to forget the many other demands on Br. Frank’s time because he was never “too busy” to take on an assignment, and his work for the Quixote Center always seemed to be at the top of his “to do” list. But Br. Frank was a remarkably busy man, serving on several boards as well as performing a full-time job as a staff attorney at the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings. In his 62 years as a member of the Marianist Community, he spent the first 20 years in education, then went to law school at UMd to be able to “create change from the inside.”  Over his career, he has championed the rights of students, inmates, tenants, immigrants, women, LGBTQ+ people, racial and ethnic minorities, and the poor. He has embodied the true Quixote spirit of dreaming impossible dreams, tilting against the windmills of oppression, and creating a world more justly loving.   

A viewing will be held Aug. 3 from 3-5 pm and 7-9 pm at the Church of the Annunciation in Rosedale (5212 McCormick Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21206) followed by a funeral August 4, 10:30 am, at the same site. There will be a storytelling session on August 3 at 7:30 pm as part of the viewing. Burial will be at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cemetery in Dundalk following the funeral Mass and lunch on August 4.

 

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Bolton: Symptom of a “far deeper malady”

The United States is still the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. Just ask John Bolton.

John Bolton was interviewed by Jack Tapper of CNN on Tuesday concerning the ongoing hearings and investigation into the January 6, 2021 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. The exchange, as summarized by the Washington Post: John Bolton, [said the] attack on the Capitol was not a “carefully planned coup d’etat” — and that he would know. “As somebody who has helped plan coups d’etat — not here but, you know, other places — it takes a lot of work, and that’s not what [President Donald Trump] did.” 

Predictably there is much discussion about which coups Bolton may have been involved in; he only admitted to trying to oust Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela in 2019 when he was Trump’s National Security Advisor. Jacob Rosenberg of Mother Jones put an ironic spin on the story while curating a tour of US sponsored regime changes since 1953. Most coverage, however, has simply restated the obvious, e.g., no one is surprised by any of this, except, maybe, the casual tone with which Bolton made the claim. 

The Washington Post did give space to people concerned that Bolton’s admission gives fuel to our “opponents” overseas: “It’s damaging to our efforts to advance and support democracy,” Stanford University-Hoover Institution scholar Larry Diamond said. “We have enough trouble already countering Russian and Chinese propaganda.” 

On the other hand, one former CIA analyst quipped on Twitter that Bolton “never touched a coup.” 

Bolton has always been a bit played in a larger ensemble of neo-conservative foreign policy hawks. Debating Bolton’s role in any of the regime changes the US helped orchestrate seems of marginal importance viewed against the full weight of what the United States government has wrought around the world with its casual disrespect for sovereignty and democratic practice.

In response to Larry Diamond, I’d say the damage to the United States’ reputation is self-inflicted by the actual practice of serial interventions our government has engaged in. The United States is not wounded by “propaganda.” We are, however, deeply wounded by the blowback from the many regime changes our government has supported.

In 2016 Lindsay O’Rourke summarized a study he had conducted into US involvement in coups d’etat around the world during the cold war. His topline: “Between 1947 and 1989, the United States tried to change other nations’ governments 72 times.” Many regime changes and attempted regime changes have ensued in the years since. 

Fifty-five years ago Dr. King called the United States the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. In what is probably the most prophetic speech anyone has ever made about US foreign policy, Dr. King said,

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. 

Dr. King argued that there must be a “radical revolution of values,” if we are to avoid this fate of never-ending crises.

we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.   . 

We should have listened.

The United States remains the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. Our government shows no regard for human rights in discerning where to engage. The US does not support democracy, unless one assumes a “market economy” is a reasonable stand in. Certainly the “market” is what the coups, interventions, and saccharine appeals to “US standing” in the world seem to ultimately be about. Racism, materialism and militarism indeed!

The latest Pentagon budget proposed by the Biden administration for FY 2023 was the largest Pentagon budget ever at $813 billion; Congress promptly bumped it to $839 billion. In reality total national security spending actually tops $1.4 trillion. The United States currently has forces deployed in 85 countries around the globe for the purpose of buttressing counter insurgency operations. Biden has just greenlighted US re-engagement with forces in Somalia, while in Europe, we remain on the brink of war with Russia; Ukraine being the site of one of the many US supported coups in the post-cold war era, though Bolton was not around for this one (2014). Blowback has most certainly followed

One day, maybe, the John Boltons of this world will face justice. Today is not that day. In the meantime, we can only hope he packs up the Yosemite Sam mustache and returns to a closet at the American Enterprise Institute. 

The rest of us must continue to work for peace. Which means cleaning up the messes that Bolton and so many others like him have created.

 

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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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Central American Jesuits’ statement on closure of Asociación Roncalli and IHCA

The following is press release from the Jesuit’s Central American Province and was shared to us by our partners at the  Asociación Roncalli. We have translated it into English, you may find the original version HERE

THE SOCIETY OF JESUS’ CENTRAL AMERICAN PROVINCE PRESS RELEASE

We want to communicate to the Nicaraguan people and to the friends of Nicaragua beyond our borders the following:

  1. On May 9, in the Official Gazette, Issue 83, the cancellation of the legal status of the Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli Association (formerly known as the Juan XXIII Institute) and the Central American Historical Institute (IHCA) was published. Both institutions belong to the mission of the Society of Jesus in Nicaragua.
  2. The IHCA was founded in 1981 as a center for analysis, communication, and social action, positioning itself as the preferential option for the poorest in its service to the Nicaraguan people. For more than four decades, IHCA was dedicated to researching, analyzing and publicizing the national and Central American reality through the magazine “Envio”; accompanying training and organization programs with people disabled by war; training boys, girls, teenagers, and youth in leadership development; and accompanying migrants and their families in the advocacy for and defense of their rights. This benefited hundreds of people across different departments of the country.
  3. The “Asociación Ángelo Giuseppe Roncalli” was born in 1961 under the name JUAN XXIII INSTITUTE OF RESEARCH AND SOCIAL ACTION, being the first institute of the nascent Central American University (UCA). In the 1980s, when the research aspect was passed to the UCA’s faculties, the name was changed to “Institute of Social Action Juan XXIII”. Later, in August 2015, in response to the development of the work and the mission, it changed its name to “Asociación Ángelo Giuseppe Roncalli”, a legal entity that had been established in 1994 by Fr. Antonio Fernández Ibáñez, SJ, then director of the Institute. The site was known as the Roncalli-Juan XXIII Association. Its mission was to contribute to the effective exercise of the human right of Nicaraguans to have access to decent housing and health, through sustainable management in the construction of low-income housing and the subsidized sale of medicines; thus fostering the self-management capacity of people “in their communities”. At the time of closure, it was present throughout the national territory through its different programs: housing (50 municipalities, 3,857 homes built, 15,430 beneficiaries); health (66 municipalities, 122 community farmicies, 42 mobile teams, 350,000 beneficiaries per year); and integral ecology projects (110 communities, 17,740 producers benefited).
  4. We want to assure that both the IHCA and the Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli Association, in exercising their mission to serve the Nicaraguan people, always observed and complied with the laws in force in the country and the Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua. The ethics, professionalism, and moral solvency of both institutions and the staff that collaborated with them is more than proven by the beneficiaries of their respective missions.
  5. The Society of Jesus regrets the closure of the IHCA and the Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli Association, which since their foundation have been dedicated to ensuring that the most vulnerable populations in Nicaragua can come to “have life and life in abundance” (Jn 10, 10 ).
  6. Given this reality, the Society of Jesus wishes to state that it will continue with its mission of accompanying the Nicaraguan people.

San Salvador, El Salvador, May 11, 2022.

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