Support migrant refugee caravans and end “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy
March 24, 2019
Whereas, for decades, Central American migrants have been forced to leave their countries of origin, refugees of wars, natural disasters, extreme poverty, lack of jobs and opportunities, and rampant gang violence. These conditions have become even more acute over the past few years, and have been fostered by a history of extremist and repressive right-wing militarist regimes supported or managed by the U.S. government; and
Whereas, the numbers of refugees granted asylum are extremely low for Central American and Mexican immigrants, and Trump’s policies have made qualifying for asylum even more difficult. However, this has not and will not deter countless people from seeking asylum for their opportunity to live in the United States in relative safety while seeking asylum in U.S. courts; and
Whereas, in the past year, “migrant caravans” or mass marches of refugees walking collectively from Central America across Mexico to the United States have become larger and gained more attention. These caravans are and will continue to be a popular, reasonable, option at a low cost to more safely and successfully make the journey to the United States. Millions of people across the world have followed the caravans’ marches with overwhelming support; and
Whereas, when he took office, the recently elected President of Mexico, Manuel Lopez Obrador, accepted Trump’s unilateral “Remain in Mexico” policy. This policy is aimed at holding immigrants seeking asylum in the United States back in Mexico while their asylum claims are “processed” by the U.S. government. This policy is an illegal and unprecedented change from contemporary international human rights practices; and
Whereas, the “Remain in Mexico” policy will make it virtually impossible for refugees to be granted asylum in the United States. They will be forced to remain in border cities or communities in Mexico while awaiting their asylum-seeking process in court rather than with family or other sponsors in the United States; and
Whereas, since spring of 2018, when caravans from Central America arrived at the Mexico-U.S. border, U.S. border officials and Immigration Customs Enforcement have maintained the bottleneck policy of processing only 40-100 applicants a day. With thousands of migrants seeking asylum at the border, it will take months, or even years, for many migrants to even apply for asylum, much less wait for their applications to be heard in court. They could end up waiting in Mexico for even more years; and
Whereas, this new policy will also increase the creation of a number of permanent immigrant refugee camps across the border from Baja California-California in the west, to the Tamaulipas-Texas section in the east, leaving thousands and thousands of immigrants vulnerable to all the adversities and lack of resources that are so commonly known along the border;
Whereas, the CFT has stood unequivocally in opposition to Trump’s anti-immigrant attacks and in support of immigrant students, families, and communities.
Therefore, be it resolved, the California Federation of Teachers supports the migrant refugee caravans and calls for the right of all in the caravans to be quickly admitted into the United States to apply for and process their asylum claims; and
Be it further resolved, the CFT opposes
the “Remain in Mexico” policy and the creation of immigrant
concentration camps on the Mexico-U.S. border.
- Passed as Resolution 28 by CFT Convention on March 24, 2019
- Submitted by the Executive Council