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Indigenous Leaders and Central New York Community respond to Trump Administration Unleashing Tear Gas on Asylum Seekers at the Mexico-US Border

Syracuse, NY- On Thursday, October 12,2018  a migrant caravan departed from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Since then, it has moved through Guatemala and into Mexico. The migrant caravan includes asylum seekers from Honduras and other Central American countries fleeing violence, political conflict, and death threats to themselves and loved ones.

The Trump administration has absurdly characterized  these asylum seekers as a threat to national security, and  in early November the President ordered 5,000 active duty military members troops from the U.S. Army to the border.

As the migrant caravan peacefully approached the United States southern border, United States Customs and Border Protection shutdown border crossing and fired tear gas on hundreds of migrant families attempting to seek asylum.

Local organizations and community members  have unequivocally condemn the actions of the Trump administration. Betty Lyons (Onondaga Nation), President & Executive Director of the American Indian Law Alliance stated: “Those families walking towards the imposed colonial US-Mexico border right now are overwhelming Indigenous Peoples and these are their original lands. They are not immigrants or refugees — and they certainly are not a threat.”

Steven Choi, Executive Director of the NYIC  said: “It’s absolutely horrifying to watch our country prove its strength by punching down at families and children fleeing violence. People are not set pieces in this administration’s theater of cruelty; they’re human beings entitled to dignity and the full protection of the law. Gassing babies in the name of national security is insane and illegal,”

Rebecca Fuentes, lead organizer with the Workers center of Central New York said: “The U.S. government has an option of how to respond to this crisis, and it has decided to do it with violence. Migrants want to request asylum and can not do so from a shelter. There is a lot of history that can help us understand what is happening now, we must remember how the United States has destabilized governments in Central America.”

“The brutality being displayed by US federal agents of shameful. No one wants to leave their homes and families but they are fleeing for their lives from violent situations. The United States has contributed to the driving causes of migration by supplying weapons to corrupt security forces in Central America and through decades of intervention. The US government needs to respect international law and the rights of all migrant to seek asylum. It’s up to all people of conscience welcome migrants and refugees into our community, especially when the government shows such disregard for human rights.” said  Ursula Rozum from the Syracuse Immigrant and Refugee Defense Network and Syracuse Peace Council.

Thousands of migrant families — mostly women and children — have been waiting to apply for asylum after making the treacherous journey from their home countries. We demand that elected leaders uphold human values, as well as U.S. and international laws and the U.S. Constitution to make sure people seeking asylum have safe and timely access to have their cases heard.

Friday November 29th, community members and organizations held a Vigil Against Violence at the Border  “We Know Our Relatives: Indigenous Nations Rejecting Colonial Borders”  at the Skä•noñh – Great Law of Peace Center located in 6680 Onondaga Lake Pkwy, Liverpool, New York 13088.

 

 

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