Stopping the Caravanas. Philanthropy’s role.
Here at Pionero Philanthropy, we want to make something clear about the Caravanas coming from Central America; simplistic reactionary measures such as increasing border law enforcement or cutting aid are not credible, long-term solutions.
We also don’t pretend that there are simple solutions either. However, by looking at the reasons why it is occurring, we hope to give insight into ways that philanthropists can assist.
According to immigration lawyer Jennifer Harbury, who does pro bono work at the border for asylum seekers, “These people have the most horrifying stories I have ever heard”.
Most are fleeing for their lives, a situation that many in the developed world can not even begin to comprehend. See below video from the Washington Post to see a selection of these stories.
According to Customs and Border Protection data, Guatemalans accounted for nearly half of all migrants who sought to enter the United States. Since moving here since 2015, I have a greater understanding about why people choose to make the heartbreaking decision to leave their families and risk the US crossing.
I see and hear the hardships, inequality, and corruption. However I also see the incredible courage and determination of many earnest citizens to make things work. At Pionero Philanthopy, we work with incredible people and nonprofits who are making daily efforts to help resolve complex issues. From empowering women, to providing affordable healthcare and education to the most impoverished.
Reasons for the Caravanas
Don’t take my word for it, here are some figures to illustrate the situation:
- Guatemala has the 5th highest level of Chronic Malnutrition for children under 5 worldwide.
- Guatemala has the 3rd highest rate of Femicide worldwide, behind El Salvador and Jamaica.
- 60% live on less than $4 a day
- Guatemala has the 5th highest murder rate worldwide. Honduras is at number 1 and El Salvador number 4.
I could continue however when presented with these facts in addition to hearing the horrifying stories, you realise that those crossing the border are not chancers. They are desperate to survive because staying in their own country is less safe than fleeing. The Supreme Court ruled that out of 73,000 credible-fear claims, 76% were found to have a credible fear of return.
“But they aren’t our problem” I hear you cry. Well, as long as the US shares a land border with Mexico, migrants will continue to be an ongoing issue. The caravanas will continue, wall or no wall and unless reasons are created for Latinos to stay in their own countries.
Patriotic to Aid Central America?
Here’s a thought: Maybe it’s patriotic to direct aid and philanthropy efforts towards Latinamerica? If these efforts create jobs, opportunities and security, then central americans will want to stay in their own countries and not want to take the risk in leaving. Foreign aid actually protects US interests and as by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said; “Our aid to #Honduras & #Guatemala isn’t charity. It helps us more than them,” “By seizing drugs before they enter U.S. & kill Americans.”
Foreign Government support is an important element in order to strengthen state systems and processes such as the The UN International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala which investigates and prosecutes serious crime in Guatemala. However, from a private Major Donor standpoint, there are some organizations that you can support that form part of the ecosystem of supportive civil society.
Here at Pionero Philanthropy, we have a comprehensive database of outstanding NPOs that play a key role in the community that help create opportunities and brighter futures for Guatemalans. Every organization has an important role to play from strengthening Women’s Rights education and representation so domestic violence sufferers are able to get the support they need, to after school education programs with at-risk youth which lowers the likelihood of gang violence, another reason why people leave for the border.