Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the group in question, uses caravans and empathy to assist displaced migrants of Latin American countries to cross through Mexico and enter the United States.
This volunteer-driven initiative when translated means ‘Town Without Borders’ and is comprised of good samaritans who believe they are helping those less fortunate avoid the perils along the path to salvation. Crime, natural elements, and law enforcement are on the list of dangers they regularly avoid.
The president’s provocative tweets followed this Buzzfeed story, and remained consistent with his long-term stance on immigration.
Rodrigo Abeja, a lead organizer of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, reacted to the president’s comments.
“These people are frustrated and desperate,” Abeja said in an interview with NBC News from Mexico.
This sentiment seems earnest, as Pueblo Sin Fronteras also runs a migrant shelter.
Abeja, a long time volunteer, said that over 1,100 people were present this year, a show of solidarity for those unfortunately torn from their homes in Latin America.
Sometimes taking risks and uprooting one’s life isn’t a choice at all. In Latin America and the Caribbean in 2016, 400,000 individuals became displaced by conflict and violence, and over 1 million more by natural disaster. Hurricanes, warfare, nations divided by political unrest, and everything in between have caused these individuals to seek sanctuary elsewhere.
Every year in the United States, 35.1 million Americans decide to move. That is to say, they have a choice to move freely within their country. While some natural disasters have recently displaced American citizens, political unrest is not an issue most people are familiar with.
Therein lies the possible misunderstanding. As Americans, we are accustomed to the liberty of choice without danger to force it. Meanwhile, immigrants worldwide are left without an option.
Perhaps a senior associate with the Latin American Working Group, Daniella Burgi-Palomino, said it best.
“People are not leaving for economic reasons or to take advantage of a system in the U.S.,” Burgi-Palomino said. “They have real valid claims of fear of returning to the country. They don’t have access to justice. The refugee crisis from the Northern Triangle has not ended.”
That is largely what Pueblo Sin Fronteras is about; helping those without a choice get safe passage to a better life, away from violence and disaster-torn places.