How You Can Help As Migrant Caravans Arrive At The U.S. Border

These are steps you can take right now to assist the refugees, who have risked everything to escape extreme poverty, gang violence, and political instability at home.


Published:

Caravan of Honduran refugees stop over in Mexico City last week. They are now beginning to arrive at the U.S. border in Tijuana. Photojournalist Rob Wilson has been traveling with the caravans from Central America to document the journey of people looking for a better life. See more photos here.


Updated: November 30, 2018
This version reflects the latest needs of the volunteers and the migrants. Click here for updates as new information becomes available.

In the town of Mapastepec, in southern Mexico, poor women are bent over an open fire, making soup for more than 2,000 young Salvadoran refugees who were part of a human caravan bound for the U.S. border.

It was this kind of compassion and open generosity, as the migrants and refugees journeyed through some of the most impoverished towns and villages in Mexico, that floored Kathryn Johnson, who was traveling with them as an American Friends Service Committee volunteer monitor.

While the women served noodle soup from large steaming pots to the passing strangers, health care professionals provided medical care and advice—free of charge.

“Townspeople, churches, city agencies—everywhere, we saw that kind of generosity,” said Johnson, a policy coordinator with AFSC, a Quaker organization with a mission of service and peacemaking worldwide. “Watching people share the few resources they had, even when they themselves have so little” was moving.

It’s the kind of generosity of spirit that Johnson hopes the caravans of migrants and asylum seekers find once they reach the border.

About 7,000 men, women, and children from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala traveling in these human caravans have called theirs a “movement for the right to migrate.” They are hoping their numbers will raise visibility around the danger and despair that drove them from their home countries in the first place—from extreme poverty and food insecurity, gang violence, political instability, and devastation from climate change.

A map tracking the migrant caravan that left San Pedro Sula, Honduras on October 13, 2018. View the interactive version here.

By midweek, the first sizable group had reached the border city of Tijuana, Mexico, hitching rides on buses and trucks on the final leg from Mexico City. Most will wait to make an asylum claim at a designated port of entry.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has sent thousands of troops to tighten border security in California, Texas, and Arizona. Last week, Trump signed a proclamation to deny the right to seek asylum to anyone not using official ports of entry. The ACLU and other civil rights groups immediately sued, saying federal law recognizes the right of people to seek asylum regardless of where and how they enter the country.

Johnson was in Mexico to serve as a monitor with American Friends, part of a delegation the organization dispatched to meet with refugees and help develop plans for long-term support.

Photo by Rob Wilson.

She said many of the refugees she spoke with had heard the hard language of the U.S. president and know about the waiting troops.

“They don’t know what will happen,” she said. “Many of them are quite religious, so they say it’s in the hands of God, or they hope to be able to change the heart of Trump.”

She acknowledged that “changing the heart of Trump” might be difficult. “It would be much more likely if Americans stand with us, if we saw action and advocacy in the U.S., either at the border or in people’s home communities.”

Many of the asylum seekers are families with children who have no contacts in the U.S., no English, and no money. Along with AFSC, a number of organizations and immigrant advocacy groups on both sides of the border are providing assistance, shelter, food, personal supplies, and legal assistance. Many arrived with the earlier wave of Central American asylum seekers this summer—and are still there. Legal advocacy groups are seeking volunteers who speak Spanish, are willing to do pro bono work, and have some experience in immigration and asylum cases.

A number of social justice organizations have planned rallies and protests. School of the Americas Watch is planning a Veterans of Peace-led march to the border wall and a vigil at the Arizona border this weekend.

The New Sanctuary Coalition, made up of faith-based and social justice groups, is creating a Sanctuary Caravan of supporters from the U.S. to meet the Central American caravan in Mexico and accompany them to the U.S.

 

 

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano, whose #MeToo tweet last year helped bolster a women’s movement, has been urging Americans to join the caravan. “Exodus is not new,” Pastor Eduardo Fabian Arias​, one of the movement leaders, says in a statement. “We are called by our faith traditions to welcome the stranger. We will answer that call.”

What else can people do to help?

Donate to an organization providing material support at the border. Amnesty International Americas has been monitoring the situation in Mexico, while UNICEF is working with the Mexican government to provide safe drinking water, hygiene, and sanitation packs as well as assessing psychosocial support and training on nutrition and child protection.

Families Belong Together is one of several groups working with refugees in Tijuana. Learn about their work.

Many local advocacy groups that are providing direct assistance, such as legal services, shelter, or supplies, also need support.

Consider joining the Dec. 10–18 Week of Action, “Love Knows No Borders: a moral call for migrant justice,” event, where more than 100 faith leaders will take part in a nonviolent direct action at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California. They’ll be calling for humane immigration policies that respect the rights and dignity of all people.

The Kino Border Initiative is a humanitarian assistance, education, and advocacy organization that provides shelter and food to asylum seekers. Its partnership with the Florence Project means those it serves also receive Know Your Rights training as well as some legal representation.

Both are recruiting volunteer pro bono attorneys who speak Spanish, have experience in asylum law and can make at least a five-day commitment at the border.

Donate air miles. Lawyer Moms of America has been contributing airline miles and money to people in shelters along the border, making it possible for those who have achieved asylum to leave and make space for new arrivals.

Volunteer to go to the border. Lawyers for Good Government is looking for volunteer lawyers who can travel to Mexico over the weekend to work with legal services there to provide Know Your Rights and other information to caravan members. They must be able to communicate in Spanish, and have some immigration/asylum experience.

Educate yourself about what’s going on in Central America and about U.S. policies in the region. Seek out credible sources of information about asylum and migration. Have conversations with others about it.

Organize and attend local events and demonstrations in support of a compassionate response to the refugees. Support speaking tours with Central Americans who can address the root causes of forced migration.

Follow posts by the two main groups accompanying the caravans—Pueblo Sin Frontreras and Al Otro Lado. Both groups also accept donations.

Tell Congress to defund hate at the border: Visit the U.S. House of Representatives website and enter your ZIP code to find out whom to contact. To reach your U.S. senator, go to the U.S. Senate website and choose your state.

Lornet Turnbull wrote this article for YES! MagazineLornet is an editor for YES!, a Seattle-based freelance writer, and a regional anchor for the Washington Post. Reach her at lturnbull@yesmagazine.orgFollow her on Twitter @TurnbullL

This article was republished from YES! Magazine.

See also:
15 Actions That Can Shut Down Trump’s Assault On Immigrant Families
The Montana Moms Who Decided Refugees Will Be Welcome In Their City

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

September 23, 2019

During the predawn hours the Sun slips into Libra and Autumn begins. The Fall Equinox is a short-lived time of year when the hours of daylight and darkness are balanced. If you’ve been putting off preparations for the coming winter, set to it. The waning…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

September 2019

It’s time for a workshop!  One plus one always equals two. In a similar fashion EFT plus Law of Attraction always equals effective and positive change. Teaching Emotional Freedom...

Cost: $40

Where:
21 Wiles Farm Road
Northboro, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Medicine My Way
Telephone: 508-523-7132
Website »

More information

In this 90 minute workshop you will find clarity in what brings you joy. You will create your personal vision statement that will help guide you to living a more satisfied, balanced life. This...

Cost: $25 early-bird till 9/20 ($30 after)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough shopping center
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

Witness the healing power of mediumship! Join New England's own trusted spirit medium Raylene Sousa and top UK medium Dominic Boag from Scotland for an afternoon of spirit messages. If...

Cost: $40

Where:
The Little Meetinghouse
723 Roosevelt Trail
Windham, ME  04062
View map »


Sponsor: Raylene Sousa Medium LLC
Telephone: 207-956-0220
Contact Name: Raylene Sousa
Website »

More information

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Members of the Reflexology Association of NH will be offering “mini” hand or foot reflexology sessions at the Salt Cave within Bien Soigne in honor of World Reflexology Week.

Cost: Donations suggested $15 - $20

Where:
Bien Soigne Salt Cave
350 North Broadway
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: Reflexology Association of NH
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

September 25–October 29, 2019 Expert Tai Chi instructor and Qigong Master Instructor Terry Dunn will be giving a total of four five-day intensive workshops in October 2019 at Eastover...

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat
430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

September 26–29 This training at the Center for Mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) uses mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy to break the cycle of...

Cost: $1,390

Where:
Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
1035 Cambridge St, Suite 21A
Cambridge, MA  02141
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
Telephone: 617-591-6132
Contact Name: Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
Website »

More information

Come detox, relax and renew yourself for the fall in our sanctuary! We have an intimate gathering of great readers and healers providing services at sampler rates to enjoy their services while...

Cost: $60: 3 Pack Service Special; $25: Single Service

Where:
Healing Power Of Flowers—Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

Mirabai Starr was an adjunct professor of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos for 20 years. Her emphasis has always been on making connections between the perennial...

Cost: $20

Where:
First Parish in Lexington
7 Harrington Road
Lexington, MA  02420
View map »


Sponsor: Lexington Community Education
Telephone: 781-862-8043
Contact Name: Craig Hall
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Maryellen Labelle, David Sholemson and Steve Cunningham are excited to announce Qigong for Inner Peace teacher training fall term 2019. This 50 hour certification training is appropriate for a wide...

Cost: $1100 / $800 early registration

Where:
Yoga Depot
17 Depot Square
Lexington, MA  02420
View map »


Sponsor: Qigong for Inner Peace
Telephone: 617-721-7215
Contact Name: Maryellen Labelle / David Sholemson
Website »

More information

Join life coach Cheryl Richardson and her husband, Michael Gerrish, a psychotherapist and gifted intuitive, for a special evening designed to help you upgrade your life! During this event,...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

This Dating Program is the follow-up to Kerri Morrison's workshop, Deliberate Dating: 5 Keys to Successful Online Romance; held Friday, August 16th, 2019 from 6:30-7:30pm. View that event...

Cost: $199

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn Reiki—revitalizing self-care and healing in the palm of your hands. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher.) This one-day class covers the...

Cost: $150

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

With Laura Haley, IET Master Instructor Trainer  This class provides you with everything you need to conduct a powerful Integrated Energy Therapy session on yourself or others (either in...

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
Methuen, MA


Telephone: (978) 474-8010
Website »

More information

Learn the benefits of yoga for families as well as how to develop character in children to get them more focused, respectful, and confident before returning back to school this fall! This class...

Cost: $45 early bird till 9/25 (includes child and a parent), $50 after

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough shopping center
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

September 28–29 Saturday 10 am Registration; 10 am–5 pm  Sunday 10 am–5 pm This practitioner training takes place over 2 days and offers students the opportunity to...

Cost: Course Fee: $450; Recalibration Appointment: $333

Where:
The Hampton Inn Coventry Warwick
850 Centre Of New England Boulevard
Coventry, RI
View map »


Telephone: 617-366-6042
Website »

More information

September 28–29 Learn hands-on techniques for the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, as well as the sacrum, psoas and ilium. Leave with tools you can use right away. Coming in...

Where:
Downeast School of Massage
Waldoboro, ME


Telephone: (617) 678-8920
Website »

More information

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags