Forum: The Central American Migrant Crisis: Human Rights and Refuge at the Mexico-Guatemala Border

By Rebeca Zuniga-Hamlin

DJPC Forum: Professor Rebecca Galemba and Kaelyn DeVries give details on a one week preliminary trip to migrant shelters at the Mexico-Guatemala border. The trip is part of a larger collaboration with the Center for Migration Studies and the Scalabrini Migrant Shelter Network to document human rights abuses experienced by Central American migrants on the northward journey; particularly within Mexico. Officially, the government of Mexico has committed itself to migrant and refugee protection, including establishing new legal mechanisms for seeking refuge and claiming to grant asylum to over 60% of solicitants. This discourse is misleading, however, as large numbers of migrants face judicial and legal systems in Mexico that are mired in bureaucracy and corruption. Too many never access formal channels to denounce human rights abuses and/or to lodge an asylum claim for fear of persecution if they return to their countries of origin.

From 25 interviews with migrants and staff members at the shelters, Galemba and DeVries learned how human rights abuses are often committed or abetted by the very actors that migrants otherwise might turn to for assistance. This talk will share the stories of individuals who are fleeing immense violence in their home countries, their journeys, and experiences navigating protection systems to demonstrate that the real immigration crisis is humanitarian: the failure to ensure the right to survive and thrive at home, as well as to freely and safely move across borders.

Watch the report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfAAzc-1E9c

Resources

https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/03/31/closed-doors/mexicos-failure-protect-central-american-refugee-and-migrant-children

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/articulo/english/2017/07/15/more-families-fleeing-central-america-resettling-mexico

http://www.animalpolitico.com/2015/07/policia-federal-y-local-autoridades-que-mas-roban-a-migrantes-marina-ejercito-y-el-inm-los-que-mas-extorsionan/

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