Action Alert: Protection and Legal Relief

May 20, 2010

Background

Mexico’s war on drugs, the resulting breakdown in social security, and the dramatic escalation of violence since its initiation in 2006 has claimed the lives of at least 22,700 people and continues to threaten the livelihood of hundreds of thousands more.  Newspapers on both sides of the border report kidnappings, extortion demands, business and medical clinic closures, massacres at treatment centers and youth gatherings, and complaints of human rights violations by military and security forces.

With little confidence in the ability of the Mexican government, the Mexican military, or other local or federal law enforcement agencies to provide for their protection, tens of thousands of Mexican nationals have escaped to the United States in search of sanctuary from this violence. El Paso chief of police, Greg Allen, has estimated that during the past two years over 30,000 Mexican nationals fleeing the violence in Ciudad Juárez have settled into El Paso alone.   Other estimates are higher.

Since the outbreak of drug-related violence in 2006, the Executive Office for Immigration Review reports that while it has received 12,110 applications from Mexican nationals seeking political asylum in the United States, it has granted political asylum to only 232 individuals – less than 2% of all Mexican applicants. By comparison, the United States received 5,879 asylum claims from Colombian nationals during this same time period and granted political asylum to 2,351 individuals – nearly 40% of all Colombian applicants.

As people of faith, it is vitally important that we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Mexico and ask our government to honor its law.  The life and words of Jesus and the teaching of the Church call us to serve those in need and to work actively for justice.

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12: 17-21).

The granting of political asylum to those fleeing violence will restore integrity and credibility to the political application process.  It will ensure that those fleeing the violence in Mexico receive an unbiased and credible review of their claims of well-founded fear of persecution, consistent with the existing law.

ACTIONS REQUESTED

1. We encourage you to sign on to Annunciation House’s petition asking for protection and legal relief for Mexican nationals affected by and fleeing violence in Mexico

2. CLICK HERE to download a SAMPLE LETTER you can send to Secretary Napolitano.  We encourage you to personalize your letter and send it as an individual or with your organization or faith group. PLEASE SEND ALL LETTERS BY JUNE 1, 2010 VIA MAIL OR FAX TO:

Secretary Janet Napolitano

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington D.C. 20528

Fax: 202-282-8401

For more information please contact: Michelle Melcher Knight, mmknight@columban.org