In response to President Trump’s threats to restrict the right to asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, Vicki Gass, Oxfam America Senior Policy Advisor, said:
“Oxfam is deeply troubled by President Trump’s threats to restrict the right to seek asylum. All people fleeing violence and persecution should be able to exercise their right to seek asylum in the US. It is a violation of U.S. and international law to prevent them from doing so.
Oxfam is also outraged by the xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric targeted at the caravan as well as all of those forcibly displaced in Central America. President Trump’s use of fear tactics is dangerous and makes political pawns out of innocent and vulnerable men, women, and children leaving their homes out of desperation.
Oxfam has been working in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras for more than three decades and we see first-hand that families are fleeing the region to escape violence, systemic corruption and impunity, an exclusive economic model that enriches only a few families at the top, and food insecurity due to climate change and lack of opportunity. People in the Northern Triangle countries face some of the worst violence and inequality in the world.
Rather than instilling and fueling irrational fear in the American people by demonizing and criminalizing families fleeing violence and instability, the U.S. should re-commit to working with counterparts in the region to address the root causes of forced migration from Central America. The U.S., Mexico, and Central American governments should reject criminalizing the migrants and work together to guarantee that the rights of people leaving their homes out of desperation are protected.
Finally, the U.S. should support solutions that are rights-based, support anti-corruption efforts, community-based violence prevention programs, investments in sustainable rural development, access to justice, and address sexual and gender-based violence. Stopping aid, militarizing the border, and preventing people from their legal right to asylum is not going to make migration from Central America go away. Addressing the root causes of migration is the only answer.”