In Sending Countries
Franciscans in sending countries assist migrants with information, support and guides that will reduce their risk on the journey. They provide information on resources that can be found on the route.
Returning deportees are provided with mental health and pastoral care, and re-integration assistance.
In Transit Countries
Franciscans and Franciscan-hearted people in transit countries assist with information, support and guides that will reduce their risk on their journey. They provide information on resources that can be found on the route. They provide human rights and legal support, and many provide shelter and hospitality.
In Border Regions.
The franciscan family in border regions helps people with information, support and guides that will reduce their risk on the journey. We provide information on resources that can be found on the route. We also provide human rights and legal support, and many provide shelter and hospitality.
The epicenter of capture, detention and deportation in the United States remains in its border region, a 2,000-mile long division between the US and Mexico. The United States has been deporting between 300,000 and 450,000 undocumented people per year for the past 10 years. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency reports that approximately 400,000 migrants were captured in 2018, a number that represents the downward trend from a maximum of 1,600,000 in the year 2000. These figures show that what is happening in the Frontier is less a political crisis than a humanitarian crisis. This humanitarian crisis is marked by new phenomena:
- The growing number of people applying for asylum (55,584 in 2017 to 93,959 in 2018).
- A growing capture of individuals and families at ports of entry, particularly those seeking asylum.
- The new program, “Stay in Mexico,” which sends asylum seekers who have crossed without documents to Mexico to await their award.
- The reduction in the number of asylum cases processed each day, a strategy called “metering”.
- Detentions of unaccompanied minors, a number that reached more than 11,000 in 2019.
- Reports leaked from detention centers that illustrate children living in miserable conditions, general neglect, poor medical care and severe psychosocial trauma. Several children have died while in detention.
- Among the most controversial, in the spring of 2018, thousands of migrant children who were separated from their parents at the border as part of a “zero tolerance policy” that prosecuted anyone who has crossed irregularly.
- The constant solicitation of funds and political support to build the concrete wall on the southern border, and the fun of funds from other projects for the wall, a plan that simply is not economically viable and would cause an environmental and cultural destruction without precedent to the region.
Mexico’s southern border region is now militarized and immigration processing and holding stations, guarded by the Federal and Military Police like high-security prisons, are at 3 or 4 times their capacity. Reports of family separations are starting to leak out, and mass deportations from the region are in progress. Immigration authorities violate the right of access to information, denying the right to seek refuge and violating the principle of no return for refugee populations. Extortion and robbery of migrants on the migratory routes by the Federal Police and the Army is becoming more common, and violent crime against people in transit is increasing. Migrants who make it to the US/Mexico border face all of the above again, and more. This territory with its brutal desert climate is controlled by drug cartels, organized crime, and smugglers, and is now also highly militarized on the Mexican side.
In Destination Countries
When migrants and refugees arrive in the United States, they face hostile immigration policies and practices, raids, threats of deportation, family separation, discrimination, and a host of other challenges. They often end up being deported, only to start the whole process all over again.
The franciscan family in the United States helps people with referral information, temporary housing, legal services, and other support. We also actively participate in advocacy activities to change laws and demand adherence to human rights agreements that protect migrants and refugees.