For Immediate Release
October 25, 2018
President Trump Manipulates Humanitarian Crisis to Sow Fear, Division
Rather than sending armed troops to the southern border, the U.S. must uphold its own asylum laws
Washington, DC – Today, news broke that Defense Secretary Mattis is expected to sign a directive that would dispatch 800 or more military troops to the border.
Preying on the desperation behind an exodus of parents seeking to protect their children from harm, this response from a heartless administration seeks to justify building more deadly walls while further militarizing the southern border. The 800 troops will be in addition to, and separate from, the 2,100 National Guard troops currently deployed at the Southern Border.
United We Dream, New Mexico Dream Team, Southern Border Communities Coalition and Church World Service had the following response:
Rev. John L. McCullough, president and CEO of Church World Service said:
“Children, women, and families from Honduras have formed a caravan to protect themselves as they have made their way north seeking protection. They have fled some of the highest rates of homicide, sexual violence, and gang violence in the world. Vulnerable families knocking on our door and seeking protection is not a crisis — it is a test of our humanity. President Trump has chosen to manipulate this humanitarian crisis to sow fear, and is now threatening to deploy 800 or more armed troops to the border.
To be clear – it is fully legal for individuals to seek asylum and protection in the United States. The United States must honor its own laws and international obligations, and we can do that through utilizing the orderly process of our asylum system. We do not need to further militarize the border – border enforcement has already escalated greatly over the past decade. Nor do we need misleading rhetoric stoking people to be afraid of women and children.
While the administration has abdicated our nation’s moral and legal responsibility to protect vulnerable people fleeing violence and persecution, Church World Service will not. We remain steadfast in our commitment to offer humanitarian assistance to these families in need and affirm the dignity of the sojourner.”
Sanaa Abrar, advocacy director at United We Dream, said:
“Sending members of the military to the border – again – is another nationalist ploy by Trump to divide our country and blame the failures of his anti-immigration agenda on immigrants. No person leaves their home by choice and walks over thousands of miles – risking their own lives, unless they are escaping horrific violence and debilitating poverty.
We’ve fought against Trump and his allies in Congress as they’ve worked tirelessly to deport, dehumanize and detain immigrants while bankrolling the deportation agencies of ICE and CBP. We’ve seen some of the worst of humanity in their family separation policies on the border and throughout the country, and continue to see true cruelty in the indefinite detention of thousands of immigrant children and their families.
But on Election Day, we have the opportunity to fight back in an even bigger way. Together, we can defeat the politicians who have worked to hurt our immigrant communities.”
Ramón Iturralde, DACA recipient, student at NMSU & member of New Mexico Dream Team, said:
“Under Trump, the fear that my family and I have of Border Patrol agents in the border city of Las Cruces, New Mexico has only intensified. It is common to see and hear about raids in our neighborhoods, places of work, and even outside of our schools. I know that one day I could be one of the people they detain and then I would be disappeared by Trump’s agents.
“Sending military troops to the border only makes immigrants and people of color like myself more vulnerable to detentions and deportations. This will mean that more children will be separated from their families. ”
Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the Southern Borders Communities Coalition said:
“The southern border should be a place of encounter, opportunity and hope — not a place of hate, exclusion and out-of-control militarization. To turn these desperate parents, who are only trying to provide safety for their children, into political pawns is to betray our sacred promise to treat people humanely in their time of need — regardless of where they come from. Many of these Central American families are fleeing unspeakable violence and persecution – and it is lawful for them to present at our southern border seeking asylum and others protections. This is an opportunity for the U.S. to do the right thing and show the true character of our nation as a beacon of hope for the world.”