WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

15 Jul 2019 | WOLA Statement

Every Day Seems to Bring a New Outrage

The Trump administration is in the midst of a deliberate, terrifying campaign to stop migrants and asylum seekers from coming to the United States. It’s trying to stoke fear and build obstacles for people fleeing violence and poverty at every step in their journey. The campaign is ugly:

  • This administration tries to get Central American governments to prevent people from leaving for the U.S., and it bullies Mexico into militarizing its borders to detain and deport migrants. 
  • This administration tries to make conditions at the U.S. border so difficult and painful that asylum seeking families will be deterred from coming, with measures like separating families and holding children and families in overcrowded and inadequate detention cells and camps.  
  • This administration has tried repeatedly to narrow the grounds on which people can claim political asylum.   

Now the Trump administration is threatening mass arrests of thousands of families who have lived and worked as integral parts of American communities in a dozen cities, to arouse fear and reinforce the basic message: immigrants aren’t welcome, they can’t come, and they can’t stay, no matter what the law says. 

This administration is as determined as it is cruel in carrying out this anti-immigrant agenda campaign of fear. We know this will be a long battle on many fronts to keep pushing back.

Every day seems to bring a new outrage. And I am heartened to see that every day brings many, many stories of courage and commitment to resist—the young mother who testified at the Kids in Cages hearing about the death of her two year old daughter; the volunteers who help at non-profit shelters; the lawyers who try to provide legal assistance; the churches who provide sanctuary; the reporters who are persistent in their efforts to expose these policies; the legislators who stand up with alternative policies that will treat people with respect and dignity.  

We all have a role to play. And here at WOLA, we’re doing our part. Our staff is working every minute of every day to identify and publicize the many elements of the administration’s ugly efforts, and to build opposition. 

Through regular trips to the border and ongoing dialogue with activists, shelter providers, and migrants themselves on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border, we’ve helped document the ways that migrants are being abused. Through constantly updated alerts and briefings in Congress, we’ve called out U.S. government agencies, and called on Congress to act and end the abuse, and to demand more humane approaches. Through our work with the media, we’ve highlighted the human consequences of what this administration is doing.   

And to everyone who will listen, we have insisted that there are sensible, realistic steps that can be taken to address what’s driving migration from Central America, to make migrants’ journeys safer, and to make our immigration and asylum system more humane and more respectful of the dignity of the families arriving at our borders.

We will continue to do battle every day, whether it’s supporting those resisting immigration raids, or publicizing abuses at the border, or providing information so that Members of Congress and all of us can fight back.

Working together, we must take a stand for human dignity and human rights. This country can and must do better.


Matt Clausen
President, WOLA