Skip to main content

Part of the caravan of refugees from Central America has reached Queretaro. It is only a few miles from San Miguel de Allende, the home of thousands of American and Canadian ex pats. And these ex pats have raised and spent thousands of dollars to provide food, shelter, and clothing for the refugees.

Refugee Caravan Arrives

My friend Trish Snyder wrote:

“The caravan is arriving. 85 people showed up at ABBA safe house in Celaya a day ago. Volunteers at the train tracks are greeting Hondurans in San Miguel.

“Our training yesterday emphasized basic security measures—things that I never would have considered. Don't loan your phone or make a phone call on someone's behalf because we don't know who is going to get your number. Don't take photos and post on Facebook because that could put the asylum seeker in jeopardy. (Remember—many people are fleeing gang violence.) Don't give rides in your own car because that could be considered human trafficking.”

“There are so many good people from all over helping.”

Here’s what she wrote about training:

“67 people came for training today to help the caravan. 85 people have already made it to central Mexico with thousands headed this way. We have teams to cook and serve, teams to drive, translator teams, lawyers, psychologists and medical folks. The response to this humanitarian crisis has been heartwarming and tragic because we don’t know what these men, women and children will face. We do know they are fleeing to save their families.”

The caravan refugees only have three choices:

  • They can try to return home;
  • they can try to stay in Mexico, or
  • they can try to cross the border into the United States.

The first choice is impossible for many if not most of them. They left because they were being threatened by death from gang members in their home country. They are fleeing to the north for a reason, after all.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Can they stay in Mexico?

“Peña Nieto [the present Mexican president] has softened his stance, offering temporary work visas along with benefits such as healthcare and education. Incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office on 1 December, has also said he will offer work visas and fund job creation in southern Mexico and Central America.

“But caravan participants have mostly rejected the offer, preferring to risk an uncertain outcome at the US border.

I support the idea that the caravan should proceed to the border and forcing President Trump to face humanity. And I think that the American expat volunteers should be part of that movement.

I support the idea that the caravan should proceed to the border and forcing President Trump to face humanity. And I think that the American expat volunteers should be part of that movement.

Let us imagine the caravan of 4000 or more refugees marching towards the border. For their safety, let us put at their head U.S. citizens. These citizens carry signs like this: “Don’t shoot. I am an American citizen, I support international refugee law, and I have a right to cross the border.” Behind them come the refugees, carrying signs like these: “Don’t shoot. I am a legitimate refugee, seeking asylum. I am asking a fair hearing of my story, as is my right under international law.”

Regardless of Mr. Trump’s views, I cannot see him ordering his troops at the border to fire blindly into the crowd. He would risk killing American citizens, not to mention innocent women and children who are seeking asylum in accordance with American law.

“Under federal law, anyone from another country can seek asylum — and therefore entry into the U.S. — by claiming to have fled their countries out of fear of persecution over their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Immigrants are eligible to apply for asylum for up to one year after their entry into the U.S., and can apply whether they entered the country legally or illegally. Immigrants who have been in the country longer than one year can also apply for asylum status if they meet certain criteria, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. More recently, asylum seekers have also been granted status due to their gender and sexual orientation.”

It’s not just the law that is important. Let us remember what America stands for:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”—Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus.

Do we still believe these words as our own? Do we welcome these refugees, or do we toss them back into the tempest?

michael hertz

Michael Hertz