At EcoViva we believe positive social change is possible through investment in healthy ecosystems and thriving communities that offer a model for living in harmony with the earth. We consider our partners to be experts in building the type of resilience that makes Central America not only a home worth staying in, but a home worth fighting for. We also understand that years of erratic weather patterns, such as periods of flooding coupled with prolonged drought, are exacerbated by climate change and affecting the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and fishers. While we are building local resilience and finding solutions to these problems, we also stand firmly and in solidarity with the many Central Americans who have little choice but to migrate north. And we understand that Central America’s troubled present is largely shaped by past US intervention.
US foreign policy has played a major role in creating the conditions that are now driving the recent exodus from Central American. Misguided policy decisions ranging from backing (and training) right-wing dictatorships, to supporting extractive industries that are known polluters of land and water, to decades of heavy-handed US intervention, have contributed to the destabilization of the region and many of the environmental and socio-economic challenges causing people to leave their homes. The current administration continues to forget our own history. Once again, the administration is using fear tactics to try to win support for a $5 billion wall to “manage terrorism and crime,” despite the fact that a wall would be exceedingly ineffective at curbing crime and terrorism.
To further support his demand for a wall, the president is also misusing Department of Homeland Security data, as he recently tweeted: “…(ICE) has apprehended, last year, 17,000 criminals trying to get across the border. Seventeen thousand. And that’s one category. There are plenty of others.” However, many of these so called “criminals” are apprehended solely for civil immigration violations. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the illegal entry of non-nationals into the United States is a misdemeanor, not a serious criminal offense capable of sparking a national security emergency. This type of fear-mongering that labels immigrants as bad or good, those who deserve to stay versus those who don’t, is xenophobic and unworthy of the values our country should stand for. Trump also tweeted that: “3,755 known or suspected terrorists prevented from traveling to or entering the U.S. by DHS (FY17)” to justify building a border wall, leaving out that the overwhelming majority of people on the terrorist watch list were apprehended at airports, not at the Southern border.
From the Washington Post: As of July 2017, the State Department said there was “no credible information that any member of a terrorist group has traveled through Mexico to gain access to the United States.”
While a proposed wall might keep butterflies from migrating northward by destroying their habitat, it won’t stop the Central American exodus that is underway due to extreme poverty, violence, hunger and the impacts of climate change. We denounce the administration’s tactic of shutting down the government in an attempt to force Congress to both fund the wall and support immigration policies that are often racist, unconstitutional and violate basic human rights. The only crisis we have at the border is a true humanitarian one, with people fleeing for their lives and seeking refuge at our shores. The world is watching us, and this moment will define our future. What example will we set for the rest of the world? One where we inhumanely compare this wall to a fence at the zoo, as Donald Trump Jr. recently did, or one where we find compassion for our fellow sisters and brothers, and take responsibility for a humanitarian crisis we helped create?
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