Tell ABC News and Univision: Ask 2020 DNC Candidates About Central American Migration!

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The perpetrators of mass shootings in Gilroy, CA and El Paso, TX made reference to "hordes of mestizos" and "a Hispanic invasion" as "instigators" for their acts of terror.[1] Given the extensiveness of this racist rhetoric and the climate of fear it produces, the next president of the United States must be prepared to implement bold policies that both address the underlying causes of Central America's crises and that rehumanize migrants and asylum seekers at the US Southern border.

Voters deserve to know:

  • Which presidential candidate will, within the first week in office, reinstate both US and international asylum laws.[2]
  • How candidates will coordinate with existing Central American governments and/or civil society organizations to produce equitable, just, and less violent societies in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.[3]
  • Which candidate is prepared to reverse course on the failures and abuses of the Central American Regional Security Initiative, and demilitarize US aid to the region.[4]
  • How candidates will guarantee the reunification of families separated by CBP and ICE under the current administration's mandate.[5]
  • What measures will each candidate implement to bring restitution to abuses suffered by asylees and migrants under US government supervision.[6]
  • Which presidential candidate will end the criminalization of migrants.[7]
  • Candidates' plans to reduce the effects of climate change and to aid "climate refugees."[8]
  • How candidates plan to protect migrants and communities of color from growing tide of anti-immigrant and white supremacist violence.[9]

Houston, the site of the third Democratic Debate this September, is America's most diverse city. In 2013, 1.4 million of the city's 6.3 million residents were foreign born. Moreover, Houston hosts the third largest urban populations of Mexican, Vietnamese, and Honduran immigrants.[10] In a state at the center of the immigration debate, it is crucial that candidates address these issues in their third debate.



[1] Why are Latinas/os feeling targeted after El Paso and Gilroy mass shootings? See NYTimes' coverage "'It Feels Like Being Hunted': Latinos Across the US in Fear After El Paso Massacre" <https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/el-paso-shooting-latino-anxiety.html>
[2] How is the US violating asylum law? See Amnesty International press release "USA: You Don't Have Any Rights Here." <https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2018/10/usa-treatment-of-asylum-seekers-southern-border/>
[3] For alternative policy choices see Michael Shifter's Center for Preventative Action special report Countering Criminal Violence in Central America <https://www.cfr.org/report/countering-criminal-violence-central-america> A brief overview of American history see Mark Tseng-Putterman's "A Century of U.S. Intervention Created the Immigration Crisis" <https://medium.com/s/story/timeline-us-intervention-central-america-a9bea9ebc148> longer histories can be found in Greg Grandin's book Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism, Holt Paperbacks, 2007, or Walter LaFeber's book Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America, W.W. Norton Company, 1993, and for specifically Honduras see Dana Frank's The Long Honduran Night: Resistance , Terror, and the United States in the Aftermath of the Coup, Haymarket Books, 2018.
[4] For impacts of current administration drug war policies see John Lindsay-Poland & Laura Weiss "Re-Arming the Drug War in Mexico and Central America." <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10714839.2017.1331823?journalCode=rnac20> For a longer history on the Latin American impacts of the drug war see Dawn Paley's book Drug War Capitalism, AK Press, 2014.
[5] For reporting on continuing family separations see Miriam Jordan "No More Family Separations Except These 900" <https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/us/migrant-family-separations.html> How do family separations impact families and children? see the American Psychological Association press release "Psychologists Respond to a Mental Health Crisis at the Border" <https://www.apa.org/news/apa/2018/border-family-separation>
[6] For information about sexual assault happening in migrant detention centers see The Intercept's coverage "Detained, and Then Violated"<https://theintercept.com/2018/04/11/immigration-detention-sexual-abuse-ice-dhs/>
[7] For more information about US policy criminalizing irregular immigration see the American Civil Liberties Union issue brief "Criminalizing Undocumented Immigrants" <https://www.aclu.org/other/issue-brief-criminalizing-undocumented-immigrants>
[8] For more information on "climate refugees," see United Nation's Refugee Agency report <https://www.unhcr.org/gcr/GCR_English.pdf>
[9] How can Washington address white nationalist violence, see Rolling Stone's coverage "4 Ways Washington Could Help Stop White Nationalist Violence — Now" <https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/el-paso-mass-shooting-white-nationalism-terrorism-solutions-868250/>
[10] Randy Capps, Michael Fix, and Chiamaka Nwosu. A Profile of Immigrants in Houston, the Nation's Most Diverse Metropolitan Area. <https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/profile-immigrants-houston-nations-most-diverse-metropolitan-area>



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