United We Stand: Latin America’s Bold Rejection of US Migration Policies

In the heart of Mexico City, a scene emerged that has become all too familiar – vulnerable Venezuelan migrants huddled together, using plastic bags to shield themselves from the relentless rain brought on by Hurricane Otis. This wasn’t just another headline about the challenges of migration; it was a testament to the broader issues pushing Latin Americans to abandon their homes.

Just days prior, the Palenque Summit witnessed a bold, collective stance by Latin American leaders. Recognizing climate change, political turmoil, and economic struggles as the primary driving forces behind the migration crisis, these leaders didn’t mince words. They held the U.S. accountable for its coercive policies which, they argue, exacerbate the suffering of the most vulnerable.

Drawing significant attention at the summit was the outspoken criticism against the U.S.’s economic sanctions. The presence of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro and Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel, both of whom have long highlighted the negative impact of such sanctions on their nations, only added fuel to the fire. The situation in Venezuela, worsened by U.S. sanctions, has undoubtedly impacted the U.S. as well. In response, the U.S. has eased some sanctions and reintroduced deportation flights to Venezuela.

It’s important to note the delicate situation inside Mexico as well. Migrants frequently face mistreatment at the hands of officials, and a staggering 92% report facing violence during their journey through the country. This speaks volumes about the glaring disconnect between the compassionate narrative the Mexican government promotes and the harsh reality migrants experience.

The root causes of migration extend beyond just the immediate hardships faced in their home countries. U.S. policies, like the “CBP One” app that only allows scheduling for entry once migrants are in Central Mexico, inadvertently trap them in the Mexican capital.

New York City, often seen as a beacon of hope and a final destination, is no exception to the complexities of this issue. Despite the city’s obligation to provide shelter, NYC Mayor Eric Adams has taken a firm stance against the influx, blaming it for straining an already stretched shelter system. However, activists argue that this influx only highlights pre-existing issues, and the real problems lie deeper.

It’s easy to blame migrants for a nation’s problems, but that narrative is both dangerous and misleading. The plight of migrants is a direct consequence of political maneuvers, and the ongoing debate in the U.S. over border policies showcases this. Many migrants, if given a choice, would prefer to remain in their homeland. The mere fact they’re risking everything to find a better life is evidence of the dire circumstances they’re fleeing.

The Palenque Summit’s united stand against U.S. policies signifies a shift in the dynamic. It’s an appeal to address the root causes of migration rather than just its symptoms. With President López Obrador ready to deliver this message to President Biden, there’s hope for a more collaborative approach.

In the end, the narrative shouldn’t be about pushing migrants away but understanding their journey, addressing the root causes, and standing united in these trying times. Only then can we envision a future where everyone has the chance to thrive in their homeland?