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How to help organizations supporting migrants in Mexico

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Person holds sign reading "We are all immigrants." Photo: takomabibelot/Flickr

Are you as tired as I am about reading about the 'coming showdown with the migrant caravan'?  Do you want to help people who are on the ground? I went looking but have not found articles about how to work in solidarity with the organizations and people who are on the frontlines in Central America and Mexico. There are articles with inspiring human interest stories, like this one, about the reactions of ordinary villagers in the Chiapas to the advance of migrants. I admit to being inspired by stories of people rationing their food so that they can share it with the people in the caravans. However, I also know that we need to support these communities, and organizations in them, because they are strapped and the migration will not be letting up.

Therefore I decided to use my rudimentary Spanish and started searching for organizations helping the many migrant caravans which make their way through Mexico. If you know of others please send them my way by emailing toolkit[at]rabble.ca. Some of these links are to websites in Spanish. To look for how to donate on these sites, find "donativo" or "cómo ayuda."

Of course first we need to inform ourselves about this issue. Here is a great discussion on babble and a useful map of the many recent "migrant caravans" that put this "caravan" story in larger perspective.

Then there three categories of organizations that need support:

1. Albergues and casas del migration

Across Central America, churches have worked with communities to develop a network of hostels and shelters for migrants. These facilities provide food and shelter and, sometimes, advocacy for certain migrants. All the shelters listed by the Fundacion Justicia could use donations and support, but the ones in Oaxaca and Chiapas are in the poorest Mexican states and overwhelmed by the recent announcement by the government offering temporary work permits to migrants who register for asylum. These are Hermanos en el Camino and the three shelters in Chiapas, Albergue Jesus el Buen Pastor, Casa del Migrante Tapachula  and Hogar de la Misicordia. Contact these organizations if you want to organize a drive or collect donations.

2. Advocacy organizations

There is no single organization or person who organized the current migrant caravan, however one of the organized groups that is often in a coordinating and media outreach role is Sin Fronteras IAP. Another organization which has been important in supporting migrants into Mexico is Fundacion Justicia. Here is a list from Fundacion Justicia of organizations which are involved in advocating for migrants. Here is a previously published list from the Activist Toolkit of groups which are helping migrants in Texas and California.

3. Mexico's government immigration system

According to Human Rights Watch and to the Centre for Migration Studies, Mexico's asylum system is improving but remains deeply flawed, leaving many migrants vulnerable to harm. Andrés Manuel López Obrador (ALMO) has announced his plan for addressing the needs of migrants into Mexico. However, Trump's actions are further overwhelming this system. Acting in solidarity with advocacy organizations listed above pushes the Canadian and United States governments to improve supports for refugees in Mexico.

No matter what the outcome of this migrant caravan, these organizations can use our support and solidarity. Perhaps wresting the United States House of Representatives from Republican control will provide an additional opportunity to support the people who will continue to migrate north.

Maya Bhullar is rabble's Activist Toolkit Coordinator. The Activist Toolkit Blog is the place to catch up on what's new with the Toolkit. With weekly roundups of newly added tools, highlights of featured tools and extra multimedia content, you'll get up to date info on grassroots organizing.

Photo: takomabibelot/Flickr

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