MCC has placed a renewed emphasis on advocacy regarding U.S. policy toward Central America and Mexico, in part due to the increased U.S. focus on “border security” and criminalizing migrants.
The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security co-hosted a summer conference with the Mexican and Central American governments to discuss migration policies, but focused narrowly on foreign investment and security assistance. In a letter to Secretary Tillerson, along with other faith-based and human rights organizations, we outlined several concerns, namely that civil society was not invited to give input at the conference and that the singular focus on militarized security funding drives further displacement and violence. Rather, assistance should be targeted at building sustainable, inclusive economies.
MCC has worked with partners in Central America and Mexico for many years to develop alternatives to migration–programs that build economic resilience and food security, in addition to education and peacebuilding programs. Addressing the root causes of economic inequality, violence and drug trafficking requires a shift from military and security funding to more effective poverty-focused development assistance and community engagement. In 2018 we will continue to push for transparency in U.S. security assistance to Mexico and Central America, while promoting the dignity of migrants and the right of people to migrate. –Charissa Zehr