Date: May 31, 2018
Author: Lisa Haugaard
We are facing headwinds against us in our quest for a U.S. policy towards Latin America that reflects our nation’s best values.
The Dreamers are in limbo. Over 300,000 people from Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and other nations who fled natural disasters and wars, worked hard and built lives in the United States have had their Temporary Protected Status revoked. Soon they will have to choose between life in the shadows and life in a country they may no longer know. Asylum is growing harder to obtain. Families are being separated on a daily basis. And then there is the President’s constant hateful rhetoric about immigrants.
The Trump Administration is trying to slash humanitarian aid to Latin America, put newly-opened U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba on ice, and make U.S. policy towards the region center once again on the war on drugs—and, above all, blocking and demonizing migrants and refugees.
Despite this, with your voice and support, we are holding strong.
|Diego, Grace, Lily, and Andrea at a rally for Honduras
outside of the State Department. Photo by Lily Folkerts.
Together we convinced Congress to keep funding historic peace accords in Colombia and programs for Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities; UN human rights offices and anti-corruption efforts; and the Inter-American Foundation’s grassroots development aid. We helped limit money for the border wall and expanded deportation forces—though we are deeply concerned about what’s been approved.
We denounced the brutal killings of protesters by security forces following the contested elections in Honduras. We worked to organize strong congressional statements on human rights, like a letter calling for protection for Colombian human rights defenders signed by more than 70 members of Congress. We brought human rights activists from Honduras (with Alianza Americas); Colombia (with WOLA and with the Colombia Human Rights Committee), and Mexico to speak truth to power.
We launched a petition against ICE separating families, which is now at over 60,000 signers*. We are working with you to build support for forward-leaning legislation on Cuba, so that we can pick up steam with a new Congress.
We’ve also visited concerned people around the country—such as those involved with the Chicago Religious Leadership Network, St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America, and Rochester Committee on Latin America—and have seen the dedicated work being done every day for human rights in Latin America and immigrant rights at home.
Thanks for all you do, dear supporters and activists: You inspire us. We will overcome.