Refugee Caravan Reaches the U.S. Border: “We demand that our rights as refugees, migrants and human beings be respected”

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


As we write, the caravan of nearly 200 Central American refugees, repeatedly attacked by Trump, has arrived at the U.S. border in Tijuana to apply for asylum. As they marched to the border, they were met by supportive demonstrators on both sides. One group, called March Without Borders, walked 143 miles in eight days from Los Angeles to the border to build support.

The caravan entered Mexico a month earlier with over 1,000 refugees—embarking on a 2,000-mile trek through Mexico toward the U.S. There were about 300 minors ranging from 1 month old to 11 years old, 20 youth who identified as LGBT, and about 400 women. The Mexican government granted asylum to some and gave 20-day permits to be in the country to others—but they deported 400 others, claiming they were violating Mexican immigration laws.

The caravan is organized each year by Pueblos Sin Fronteras—People Without Borders—which has been leading migrants to the U.S. border in search of asylum for the past 15 years with caravans to enable them to travel safely in the face of criminals and the natural elements, as well as Mexican immigration agents. One of the organizers told NBC News that at the start 80% of the asylum seekers were people from Honduras forced to flee because of the unrest following the fraudulent “election” of a U.S.-backed puppet.

These caravans are in part a symbolic statement to draw attention to the unjust asylum processes in both Mexico and the U.S., and to the humanity of those forced to make this passage. Each of these refugees has a story to tell that is both horrifying and courageous—and a lived condemnation of the crimes of this monstrous capitalist-imperialist system.

Reporters from the Washington Post spoke with a 47-year-old woman from El Salvador whose son and daughter got married to their partners that morning at Friendship Park on the border. She said, “I hope that the immigration agents take into account that walking from Chiapas to here, and fleeing from our countries, is punishment enough.” Five years ago her family had been encircled in their home by armed members of the MS-13 gang. When her son refused to be recruited, armed men entered the house in the early morning, forced them all outside and threw them to the ground at gunpoint. They fled to Guatemala and then to Mexico but still couldn't escape the gang threats. She said: “It’s been a nightmare that follows me day and night, and even though I wish it was over, it keeps coming back.”

“What if they don't give us asylum and send us back to our country?” said a 15-year-old girl from Honduras’s capital city, who was fleeing after a gang member raped her high school friend—and then told her that she was next on their list. Another youth fled El Salvador after his life was threatened for refusing to join the local gang. What they are describing are conditions in their countries that have been created through decades of being ravaged by U.S. imperialism and the tyrants, death squads, and their murderous killing machines put in place to represent their interests.

At the end of their journey, the caravan issued a powerful statement:

During the last month, we have endured a long and hard journey across Mexico, fighting for a safe and dignified life. The unity that we have built through this caravan has been the only way to find peace, which we did not have before. Now that our journey is ending, we demand that our rights as refugees, migrants and human beings be respected.

These are the people that Trump—in all of his disgusting xenophobic vitriol—has been lying about to whip up hatred and fear among the “citizens” of this country. Trump is so proud of the directive he issued to the Department of Homeland Security to “STOP the caravan of illegal immigrants trying to cross our WIDE-OPEN BORDER” that he is using it in his fundraising letters. He has sent hundreds of National Guard troops to beef up the militarization of the border.

Now these refugees face the battle for asylum under the Trump/Pence regime. Adults who pass the initial screening in the asylum process could be imprisoned—“detained”—for several months or even years awaiting their asylum hearing. Families could be separated into different detention centers. Everyone, everywhere needs to stand with these brave and determined people who are demanding that their “rights as refugees, migrants and human beings be respected,” and actively resist the U.S. government’s moves to attack and dehumanize them.




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