For immediate release // excuse cross-posting
Presidents Must Come Face-to-Face with Deportees If They’re to Be Leaders on Migration
Statement by NDLON and United We Dream from El Salvador Where They are on a “Confronting the Truth” Delegation
San Salvador, El Salvador – Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Since the 18th, NDLON has been in El Salvador hosting a “Confronting the Truth” delegation with United We Dream and other front-line immigrant rights organizers, faith leaders, and academics to investigate the dynamics of migration by meeting with government officials, civil society, academics, and convening public forums with groups of the 58,000 Salvadorans who the US has deported since 2011.
Preceding the meeting of the Presidents from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and the United States , NDLON and United We Dream issued the following statement:
“It’s not too late for the Presidents meeting to do the right thing on migration but it will require them to confront the truth that so far has been obsd by partisan spin and heartless politics.
The truth can easily be found by hearing directly from the people who have braved the journey to the US and have survived the icy rooms and chained transports of the US detention system. Meeting them would give President Obama the good sense to ignore the nativists in Congress and the Central American Presidents the ground to reject the historic imbalance of power and resources by acting in the best interests of the migrants and promoting what should be common sense policies for all countries.
We came to El Salvador to discover what’s really happening regardless of how politically inconvenient it may be. Within a short time we have already confirmed and dispelled several strands of the debate. It is not just about children but about the humanity of migrants of every age and the circumstance of their lives regardless of if they were raised within the US or just arrived with the same visions of the parents who brought their children decades ago.
The fear of violence is real but so is the courage of those who either decide to pursue opportunity against all odds or travel for a better life against all threats.
While we expected to learn more deeply about the push and pull that forces displacement, we were surprised but what’s truly at its center; the love of fathers willing to risk death for a better life for children they may never see again and the love of families who cannot take being divided between borders.
If the Presidents met with people who have been sent from the US and arrive in their home countries in shackles, they might discover in themselves a fraction of that love, a drop of that courage, and a glimpse of reality that would actually transform their approach. Until then, the real leaders on this issue are the empty-pocketed deportees asking themselves what’s next, not those who have spun their suffering for another photo op or fodder for the next election cycle.”
NDLON, CARECEN and others have started a petition with demands for immediate and long-term action from the US and Central American governments. United We Dream has been collecting messages of love and acceptance to deliver to the refugee children at the border. Both groups will be marching on August 2ndto demand executive action that expands relief to the fullest extent possible by law.