For Immediate Release
Trump Policies Cause Chaos for Hondurans in the US and in Honduras: Immigrants Decry US Complicity for Instability in Honduras and Against Immigrants
Los Angeles, CA - Immigrant Rights Organizations condemn the Trump administration’s policies, that threaten stability in Honduras and harm US immigrants. Trump’s State Department advanced military aid to Honduras on November 28, 2017, even as the Central American country faced political chaos and instability in Honduras due to fraudulent activity in its national election. US State Department support for Honduras, including unfounded praise for its human rights record, has emboldened the current regime. Experts and advocates warn that the tacit US endorsement of the tainted election and continued support for the illegitimate President Juan Orlando Hernandez will generate instability and chaos in Honduras, driving more Hondurans to seek refuge across their borders.
Within the United States, Trump’s anti-immigration policies also generate uncertainty for hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, including vast numbers of Honduran children and families who have migrated here for reasons of safety to the US in recent years. Among other anti-immigrant policies, the imminent threat of cancellation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) after July 2018 jeopardizes an essential protection for tens of thousands of Hondurans and their families who have been her for twenty years or more and who cannot and should not be forced to return to a chaotic and unstable, illegal and unconstitutional governmental regime.
Yesterday, December 17th, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) declared current president Juan Orlando Hernandez the winner, amid reports of rampant voting problems and ballot-counting irregularities, including charges of fraud on behalf of the incumbent. The Honduran TSE has operated behind closed doors and refused independent auditing of election results. The Organization of American States and international election observers have decried the lack of transparency of the TSE and have called for an annulment and for elections to be held again. The major opposition party has filed complaints with the TSE and OAS, charging fraud, such as tampering with vote tally sheets. Protests erupted throughout the country, as citizens defied the President’s military curfew and claimed their vote was stolen. Peaceful protesters were met with armed military police and military units shooting real bullets at the crowd. To date, there are 24 dead from confrontations with military police and over 1500 arrested.
Immigrant rights groups, CARECEN, NDLON, Familia TQLM, Coalición Trans Latina, Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families, and Hondurans dealing with TPS and uncertainty in the US and Latin American scholars call for sanctions of the Honduran government and demand an extension of TPS and asylum for women, children and LGBTQ and Transgender women in ICE detention.
Under the now-ended presidential term of Juan Orlando Hernandez, a mass exodus of Hondurans came to the United States seeking safety and stability. In 2014, of the over 67,000 children at the US Mexico border, 27% were Honduran. Los Angeles is home to over 42,901 Hondurans. An estimated 791,000 live in the US.
Angela Sanbrano, Board President of CARECEN, states, “Central American migrants to the US are a part of the fabric of our community. The Trump administration’s broadsided attack on immigrants has caused fear and uncertainty for us all. His inept foreign policies combined with his domestic neglect must not become the norm.”
Joe Berra, Clinical Director at UCLA School of Law, states: “Honduras is in the midst of the latest in a series of coups against democracy and constitutional order. The first occurred in 2009 against the democratically elected President Mel Zelaya; the second occurred shortly thereafter against the judiciary when, as President of the National Congress, Juan Orlando illegally removed and hand-picked the majority of the Supreme Court Justices. We are witnessing the third coup, this one against the popular vote rejecting Hernandez’ unconstitutional attempt at re-election. We remain hopeful because the honduran people remain steadfast in protecting their democracy and defending human rights. The US should be supporting them.”
Pablo Alvarado of National Bay Laborer Organizing Network states: “As we fight to save TPS for Hondurans in the US, we must not forget that humble people in Honduras are fighting for democracy and for human rights and they are being repressed, tortured and killed. These are the relatives of TPS holders. Therefore, we must stand together to call for fair treatment and respect for communities here in the US and in our home countries. We call on Washington to extend TPS for all Central Americans and an end to US interference in the future of Honduran democracy. That is for the Honduran people to decide. We call on the powerful in Honduras to hold new internationally supervised elections as the OAS suggests. If this happens, la Alianza por la democracia en Honduras will send international observers.”
Bamby Salcedo of TransLatin@ Coalition states: “Instability in Honduras has caused devastation to the most vulnerable, and the JOH administration has done nothing to protect them. According to CATTRACHAS, between 2012-2017 there have been 57 Transgender murders registered and only 9 have been brought to a court of law.”
Jorge Gutierrez, Exec. Dir., Familia Trans Queer Liberation Movement: “Transgender youth migration from Central America and particularly from Honduras is at an all-time high, with youth often migrating with little money, threats to their lives and a discriminatory immigration court system in the US. If they are deported they will face certain death in Honduras, particularly under this repressive regime.”
Suyapa Portillo, Assistant Professor at Pitzer College, a native Honduran, states: “The current US posture toward Honduras is a continuation of its policy of favoring corrupt elites over the will of the Honduran people, a direct legacy of the US failures going back to the 1980s and before. From the 2009 coup d’etat, to the murder of Berta Caceres, and the inordinate murders of human rights defenders and others, the US has shown that anything goes as long as it favors rich corporate interests and the very wealthy on both sides of our borders. Not surprisingly, Trump and his cronies are continuing this approach.”
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