Campus News

Migrant caravan violence leads call to arms throughout Madison community

Various Madison organizations gathered with the public for an emergency rally that was held in support of the migrant caravan along the El Chaparral border Tuesday.

Image By: Kalli Anderson and Kalli Anderson

Empowered voices and heavy hearts carried on the chant, “no one is illegal, refugees are people,” while standing on the edge of State Street Tuesday evening.

Community members gathered for a rally supporting the Central American migrant caravan of those who are seeking asylum in the U.S.

On the heels of another vicious migrant attack in Tijuana, organizations across the Madison area led an emergency protest to demand the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This served as a call for “a united movement to demand amnesty for all immigrants and end the criminalization of crossing imaginary lines, known as borders,” according to Nick Puetz, a member of the Socialist Alternative.

“We want to build solidarity, not just today for this caravan, but also for all migrants,” said Thomas Scheevel, a member of the International Socialist Organization. “We believe that it is the right of all people to travel and live where they wish. We are against borders.”

In 2009, the U.S. supported a coup that destabilized Honduras, resulting in high rates of femicide and the murdering of transgender individuals.

This led to families being tear-gassed along the California border while U.S. agents maintained crowd control by firing weapons at them. The warfare of tear gas is banned in nearly every country, notably the U.S.

“Though it’s coming from outside the U.S., the causes of this migration are very much from here,” Scheevel said.

U.S. policy continues to blame Honduran refugees, but in reality, they are the victims, noted Sari Hattis, co-chair of the Young Democratic Socialists of America.

“The U.S. has long played an oppressive role in Honduran politics that has led to this refugee crisis,” Hattis said. “The blood is on our hands.”

Plumes of heated breaths from about 50 protesters linked messages of immigrant supporters as they shouted, “Say it loud! Say it clear! Immigrants are welcomed here!”

In lieu of the rejection of support for immigrants at the Mexican border from the government, the sound of stomping feet and echoed chants filled the heart of Madison.

On a sunny day in June, individuals demanded 2,300 immigrant children would reunite with their families. Amounting to over 1,000 people, the protest placed a spotlight on the familial separation in between shouts of “Abolish ICE.”

“The right to seek asylum is actually protected by both U.S. and International law,” Hattis said. “The closing of the border would only be legal if they knew the migrants would be safe, which we know is not the case.”

UW-Madison third-year law student Charris Zimmick recounted three different tales of women who were detained in federal detention after crossing the border in Dilley, Texas. These women faced abuse, sexual violence and death threats resulting in the decision to flee.

Retellings of the brutal realities were designed to lift up their stories and recognize the trauma that the individuals and families are struggling to escape.

Refugees that choose to leave for the “American Dream” are also viewed as economic migrants by Republicans. This is the fallacy of immigration, according to Zimmick.

“None of these women ever spoke to me of the ‘American Dream.’ They are not trying to gain the system, they are not criminals, they are not violent,” Zimmick said. “These individuals and families are strong, incredible and resilient survivors of horrific violence and trauma. And I hope that we think of them that way. Not simply as people to be pitied, or worse, to fear.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Cardinal.