Immigration & Refugees
For too long, the immigration debate has revolved around border walls, deportations and domestic policies that are not only cruel and ineffective but also fail to recognize the root cause of migration.
In Latin America, free trade policies like CAFTA and NAFTA have failed to generate new jobs. At the same time, these policies make small farming obsolete and force people to migrate in search of work.
For example, the influx of subsidized grains from the U.S. to Mexico under NAFTA decimated at least two million farming jobs. Now, every hour Mexico imports $1.5 million worth of food. In that same hour, 30 Mexican farmers migrate to the U.S. looking for work.
Although U.S. economic policies force people to leave their homes in search of work domestic immigration policy treats immigrants as criminals and has entire communities living in fear.
The debate about comprehensive immigration reform must include discussions about the roots of migration and changing U.S. economic policy in Latin America. Therefore, in addition to supporting domestic immigration policy reform, Witness for Peace compels government decision-makers to block new free trade agreements and change the U.S. trade policies that contribute to migration.
Witness for Peace also brings delegates to Mexico and Nicaragua to research and understand the economic policies and corporate practices that drive people north. Local leaders from the U.S. visit sending communities and return to their homes equipped to improve immigrant relations and advocate for humane immigration policies.
Meanwhile, thousands of people have taken action with Witness for Peace’sMigrating Toward Justice campaign, calling for immigration rights and an end to the economic policies that drive migration. Witness for Peace-produced documentaries and campaign materials help delegates and other supporters publicly connect the dots between free trade and forced migration.
Latest Updates on Immigration & Refugees
- July 23 - July 30
The Honduras International Team recently had a letter to the editor published in the LA Times in response to a Sonia Nazario op-ed about US-funded anti-violence initiatives and their role in reducing migration. We do think, given the 150-word limit, we got the main...read more
The Mérida Initiative, also referred to as Plan Mexico, is described by the U.S. Department of State as “an unprecedented partnership between the United States and Mexico to fight organized crime and associated violence while furthering respect for human rights and the rule of law.” The reality of the Mérida Initiative, however, is something entirely different.read more
by Sue Davis (WFP Mexico Program delegate) “If you promise a girl heaven, you can take her to hell.” (Quote from a human trafficker overheard by human rights attorney Malika Saada Saar.) This quote took on many layers of meaning as our group encountered various...read more
by Maggie Ervin It probably doesn't come as a surprise that the top ten contractors of the US government are all military-oriented corporations: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and the like. Although the Defense Department has...read more
by Arturo J. Viscarra and Michael Prentice- The border crisis can't be solved without the U.S. coming to terms with its role in creating the awful conditions refugees are fleeing. "[I]n the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine...read more
by Sarah Aldridge At the beginning of my summer vacation, from May 12th - 21st, I traveled with a delegation from Appalachian State University to Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico, to study U.S. and Mexican immigration policies, and the effects that these policies have on...read more
Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters don’t take long to come out in Mexico. I imagine that the Sonys and the Warner Brothers pay the dubbing companies a pretty peso, ‘cause they get right to the task. So this summer, on screen after screen south of the border, the...read more
by Maggie ErvinOaxacan resident Claudia Trujillo was eating lunch behind the cash register as she does every day, her elderly mother sitting next to her. “It makes me angry…Here I am breaking my back, facing higher electricity and phone bills and sales tax, and...read more
by Maggie ErvinIt was standing room only, agonizingly hot, and we could barely see from the back. But we weren’t going anywhere. Gathered in one of the many beautiful museums in the ever-expanding metropolis known as Mexico City, we had come to hear dreams. Not to...read more
por Maggie ErvinEl lugar estaba tan lleno que varios estábamos de pie, hacía mucho calor, y apenas podíamos ver desde atrás, pero no íbamos a irnos a ninguna parte. Reunidos en uno de los muchos museos bonitos de esta metrópoli en constante expansión llamada Ciudad de...read more
Julia Duranti, Witness for Peace ColombiaWhile the least-productive Congress in history went on vacation in August without addressing the Central American child refugee crisis, others opined about possible solutions. In an August 5 op-edin the Los Angeles Times, Luis...read more
"Cuarenta días en el desierto" describe tanto a Jesús Cristo al comienzo de su ministerio, como a la comunidad cristiana durante la Cuaresma. Para mí, de ahora en adelante, también describirá a los migrantes que enfrentan un peligroso viaje a través de México cuando...read more