ABOUT THE CRISIS

A caravan of refugees from Honduras is encamped in Tijuana.  These migrants are fleeing torture, extortion, death threats, rape, assault, violence directed at LGBT people, and civil unrest in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.  The UN has called this a western hemisphere refugee crisis.

Local aid providers estimate the size of the refugee population at 10,000+.  Most migrants have very limited understanding of the legal process of seeking asylum in the United States.  Unaccompanied youth migrants are especially vulnerable to street violence.  Members of gangs from Central America have moved north with the caravan, creating fear among the migrants.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

1. SPEAK UP

Educate yourself, and use social and traditional media to make these points:

  • REFUGEES ARE HUMAN BEINGS:  Many of the people arriving at our southern border are fleeing death threats, assault, rape, and torture in their home countries.  They are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. Some are college-educated; some are veterans who have been targeted for their service; some are LGBTI people who are targeted for their sexuality. We know their individual stories.  We ask our friends and neighbors to listen.
  • #DIGNITYNOTDETENTION:  Refugees need shelter, food, medical care, information, and support.  They should not be imprisoned, harmed, or further persecuted. History will judge us as to how we respond to them.  We call on the UN, the United States, and our federal, state, and local officials to provide resources and protection to refugees at our southern border and to end refugee detention now.

2.  DONATE CASH

We encourage you to donate to Al Otro Lado,  which runs a legal clinic for refugees in Tijuana.  You can also PayPal to EspacioMigrante(Tijuana-based direct aid), Jewish Family Services (San Diego-based direct aid–though please note, the needs are more acute on the Tijuana side at this time), Alliance San Diego (travel funds to help released asylum-seekers get to safe places in the US).

3.  PURCHASE GOODS

Community groups have been overwhelmed by the work of receiving and processing donations of clothing, etc.  Many of the goods we donate–especially mens clothing in sizes L, XL–are not usable. Consider visiting Amazon wish lists for groups listed above or purchasing for Border Angels, which maintains a registry at Target.

4.  VOLUNTEER

Immigration attorneys and legal observers are desperately needed. You can volunteer on the ground for a week or a weekend or become a virtual legal volunteer through Al Otro Lado.  Medical personnel are also needed to treat malnutrition, flu, and injuries from assaults and rock throwing directed at refugees and foot injuries sustained during caravan travel. Medical volunteers can sign up with Al Otro Lado or San Diego Border Dreamers. Spanish-speaking volunteers will be needed in San Diego to assist arriving asylum seekers by supporting or volunteering with the Rapid Response Network and Safe Harbors.

5.  DIVEST

Call on CALPERS and CALSTRS to engage with CoreCivic and demand end of detention for refugees and humane treatment according to California state standards, or to divest entirely.  If you are a state or represented employee, talk to your union local to join the effort and educate its members. Background here.  Petition here.

6. INVESTIGATE

Write a letter to Attorney General Xavier Becerra to visit Otay Mesa and read the accounts of refugees held in detention.  (The California Department of Justice has been charged by the State Legislature with exercising oversight over detention centers in California and is required to submit a comprehensive report of its findings to the state lawmakers by March 2019.)  Call on him to hold Core Civic accountable to California standards for human rights in detention.  Copy your assembly members, state senators, and congresspeople.

Attorney General’s Office

California Department of Justice
Attn: Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

http://www.assembly.ca.gov

http://www.senate.ca.gov