EL PASO, Texas, March 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of the Latino Jewish Leadership Council, an AJC initiative, have completed a two-day fact-finding mission along the El Paso- Ciudad Juárez border. In site visits and meetings with diverse stakeholders they sought to deepen understanding of the complex security, humanitarian and foreign policy dimensions associated with the ongoing debate on immigration. They met with ICE and border security officials, local and federal law enforcement officials, Republican and Democratic congressional staffers, humanitarian workers, and diplomats.
El Paso and Ciudad Juárez represent a single economically integrated and interdependent community. The consistent and resounding message from the stakeholders is that the border area is a safe region. Safety notwithstanding, there is still a humanitarian crisis at the border driven by a surge of immigrants trying to enter the U.S. from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The 20-person LJLC delegation saw the need to carefully allocate limited American resources effectively and thoughtfully, including increasing cooperation between the U.S. and Mexican governments.
Inspired by the Jewish and Latino experiences of immigration and vilification as the "other," the members of the national LJLC and its Texas affiliate recognize the contributions immigrants make to America's growth and well-being. Council members are deeply committed to upholding democratic values of justice, equal opportunity, due process, and human dignity. They are concerned about the labeling of migrants and refugees as inherent dangers to the country.
As highlighted throughout the fact-finding mission, U.S. and Mexican law enforcement authorities have a productive record of jointly fighting organized crime, human trafficking, drug interdiction, and violence through an exchange of information and intelligence. The Council supports enhanced cooperation along the border, such as the existing bi-national security communications network that includes patrols between the Mexican Federal Police and the U.S. Border Patrol.
The LJLC encourages a transnational perspective, addressing the root causes of migration. Solutions should be multidimensional and multilateral. The U.S. should work with its Mexican and Central American partners, bolster the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle and similar initiatives that strengthen the rule of law, fight corruption and organized crime, and generate economic opportunities.
Council members are concerned about the low number of asylum-seekers granted asylum. In the immediacy, refugee caps should be increased as part of the strategic collaboration among the U.S., Mexico, and the Northern Triangle countries. Additionally, the Council is dedicated to preserving family unity, and recognizes that the negative effects of "zero tolerance" policies, such as forced family separation, have repercussions that extend beyond individuals and families to entire communities in the United States and the region.
The TxLJLC is comprised of 26 prominent Texas-based Jewish and Latino leaders who advocate together on issues of common concern and defend values cherished by both communities. The Council focuses on immigration justice, combating discrimination and bigotry, and promoting the trilateral relationship between the U.S., Latin America, and Israel. The Council plans to engage in advocacy with government officials on all levels, offering policy recommendations. The Council was launched in November 2018. It is the first affiliate of the national Latino Jewish Leadership Council, established by AJC two years ago.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee