Global Issues Conference tackles forced migration

Rodrigo Gutierrez, Staff Reporter

During the Trump administration, migrants who seek a better opportunity in the U.S. have received an unwelcoming treatment by the United States government according to a presentation given at the Global Issues conference on forced migration which was held on Feb. 25 on the De Anza campus

Policies like Metering, Migration Protection Protocols, Asylum cooperative agreement, and Asylum Ban 2.0 have made it difficult for the persecuted to seek refuge in the United States.

The gang problem that plagues the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras is so bad that the governments have lost control in certain territories and local governments are unwilling to control domestic violence cases, regarding it as a personal matter and that they should not get involved, according to Navarro’s presentation.

Speakers shared with the audience struggles asylum seekers face and how they can make a change to help better their situation.

Felipe Navarro, who works for the Center of Gender and Refugee Studies, discussed how refugees from Central America are being targeted by American policies that disrupt their chances of living in the U.S.

Navarro said that the primary reason why immigrants are escaping Central America, is because both gang and gender based violence are prevalent in their home countries.

According to Matter of A-B, “generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum.”

Although in Navarro’s presentation he said that this decision by the Attorney General is not definitive on who qualifies for asylum, he does acknowledge that there is inconsistency on who does at times in different cases.

Emmanuel Duran, 18, anthropology major, volunteered at the Global Issues conference and hosted a workshop. He shared his thoughts, and biggest takeaways from the event.

“By hosting a workshop it was really not just me being up there and trying to inform the people, but also hearing others personal experiences,” said Duran.“I had some speakers who were willing and brave enough to speak about their past experiences.”

For some De Anza students, the awareness of this issue is a step forward for future generations to get involved and have a voice in the matter.

Rosario Cruz, who is involved with several groups in the Bay Area, shared experience with her organization, Groupo Defensoras and how it came about in response to the Trump Administration.

“The organization saw that a lot of women were not showing up to meetings, or they were afraid to participate in campaigns and political work, because of his election,” said Cruz. “And so, in order to respond to that fear in a more empowering way they saw to make a group of mutual support.”

Navarro said that the primary reason why immigrants are escaping Central America, is because both gang and gender based violence are prevalent in their home countries.

Blanca, who spoke through an interpreter, said that unlike many who come to the U.S. seeking a better future, she did not. Instead, she felt compelled to leave her country because of the violence she suffered from her partner back home.

“The United States is justifying violence towards women just like my aggressor did, by saying it is something the government cannot get involved in,” said Blanca. “hey are exercising their patriarchal power or as we say in our culture ‘Machismo’”

Two thirds of asylum seekers from these countries have had a family member who has been kidnapped, have disappeared, or murdered according to the presentation.

Navorro said,“we should fight as hard as possible to ensure that America continues to be a safe haven for those fleeing persecution in their countries so they can live their lives free of fear for their lives.”