Policies that mistreat migrants are not solutions

The criminalization of migration, the outsourcing of borders, and the physical and psychological degradation and abuse of migrants in detention as a means of deterring migration are all failed and dehumanizing policies. Cristosal believes that the application of this short-sighted vision and its replication in Central America will have a counterproductive and destabilizing effect that will only aggravate the underlying causes of forced migration.

The accords initially struck between the presidents of Guatemala and the United States, far from strengthening access to asylum and protection mechanisms, will provoke more instability and unnecessary human suffering in our hemisphere. Although the constitutional authority in Guatemala recently vetoed Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales’ attempts to sign an agreement of this nature, it is very probable that the pressure on Guatemala will be redoubled when new government authorities take office in the near future.

The humanitarian situation originating in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador requires a firm commitment from all regional governments that acknowledges the shared responsibility we have towards protecting our migrants, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons in order to reestablish stability and the rule of law in the Mesoamerican migration corridor.

Similarly, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras possess primary responsibility for protecting the citizens affected by violence and by human rights violations within their own borders.

What predominates in public policies on security and migration, from Washington to Managua, is a dangerous populism that punishes the most vulnerable. Such policies do not produce tenable solutions towards establishing citizen security nor towards reducing forced migration.

It is urgent that policies are adopted that transform the problems inherent to the migration systems in the United States and Mexico. Furthermore, it is necessary that government representatives exhibit the political will and long-term cooperation required in order to resolve the structural problems of inequality, violence and impunity in Central America that have continued to drive citizens to search in foreign lands for the rights and guarantees that have not been respected in their places of origin.

Paulina P