This month’s media report covers the widespread resistance to the expansion of the “Remain in Mexico” policy into Arizona, including opposition from the Bishop of Tucson; the return of Central American asylum-seekers to Guatemala where they are forced to seek refuge; and escalating violence in Nicaragua that has put our Jesuit partners and many others in danger.
1) Bishop releases statement opposing MPP: Since January of this year, the U.S. government has sent over 60,000 asylum-seekers back to Mexican border cities to await their court dates in dangerous, high-risk situations. In November, the policy extended to Arizona. Local government, volunteers, academics, activists, and the Bishop of Tucson, Edward Weisenburger, have all spoken out against it. Read more about his statement and position here: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/tucson-bishop-us-policy-puts-migrants-at-risk-of-violent-crime-54029
2) Return of Central American asylum-seekers to Guatemala: Over the summer, the Trump administration brokered agreements with Central American countries to seek asylum there. Since late November, asylum seekers from Central America have been sent back to Guatemala after a deal was finalized with the Guatemalan government; Honduras and El Salvador have also signed such agreements Both individuals and families have been returned to Guatemala. Guatemala has virtually no asylum system, and the country struggles with corruption, poverty, and violence. Moreover, the agreement is likely illegal under Guatemalan law because it was signed by the President but the Supreme Court has ruled that it must be ratified in the legislature, which has not yet happened. Read more here: https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-10/u-s-starts-pushing-asylum-seeking-families-back-to-guatemala-for-first-time
3) Escalating Violence in Nicaragua: In mid-November, a group of mothers held a hunger strike in a Nicaraguan Catholic church to demand the release of their children, who are being held as political prisoners. The violence is affecting our Jesuit partners in the region, as well as the well-being of the general population. Pro-governmental forces ran into the cathedral; harassed the protestors, a priest, and a nun; and broke into locked rooms, where they desecrated sacred objects. The mothers were evacuated for reasons of safety. This incident is a continuation of the violence that has been worsening since the spring of 2018, and the Nicaraguan government is becoming increasingly authoritarian. Read more here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/nicaraguas-government-in-fierce-clash-with-catholic-church-over-hunger-strikes/2019/11/19/abe45c4c-0a44-11ea-8054-289aef6e38a3_story.html