Migrants from All-Over the World Demand People Driven Approach to Migration Policy
The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns joins 20 other organizations to convene Fourth International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees to Counter United Nations High Level Dialogue
On October 1 – 5, hundreds of migrants from all over the world gather in New York to convene the fourth International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR4). The five-day event is packed full of workshops, protests, cultural sharing and more aimed at representing the voice of migrants during the United Nations High Level Dialogue on Migration.
The UN HLD assembles dozens of state leaders to coordinate migration policy. For decades, nations have come together in meetings like the UN HLD to plan the futures of millions of migrants and refugees, without their representation.
“We are here to uplift the voice of Migrants and Refugees. Historically, decisions made in these types of world meetings have put the health and vitality of migrants, refugees, and their families in jeopardy. We are here to tell the UN, that migrants throughout the world are united and demand a migration policy that keeps families together, protects the rights of workers, and prioritizes people’s dignity.” said Terrence Valen, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) president, one of the conveners.
NAFCON along with the International Migrants Alliance (IMA), Alianza de Ex-Braceros del Norte, Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, and over a dozen other organizations convene IAMR4 bringing together the workers and families who are most affected by UN HLD policies. Many will come to share their stories and their aspirations including Saul Arellano, 14 year-old son of Elvira Arellano.
In 2006, Elvira and her son defied a removal order from the US government seeking sanctuary for months in a Chicago church. Their act of resistance became an inspiring symbol for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the US and around the world that face the harsh realities as well as human rights violations on daily basis. Before the end of the year both were deported back to Mexico by ICE.
Saul and other IAMR4 participants join behind the theme, “Listen to the voices of migrants and refugees! No to UN HLD! Development for the people, not for corporate interests! Create jobs, end root causes of poverty and massive forced migration!”
IAMR4 counters the UN HLD principle that migration can be used as a tool for development. It highlights that migration is a product of underdevelopment that leads to many more problems. For example in the Philippines, where over 20 billion in annual remittances are used to off-set the poverty created by government corruption and neglect. In this case, the cost of using migration for development led to constant family separation, overseas worker exploitation, and countless human-rights violations.
IAMR4 calls for migrants around the world to push for a policy that harnesses the amazing potential to contribute to home countries. “If migrants can hold up our homeland from far away, imagine what can be done for our country, our community, and our families if workers are able stay with loved ones and gain meaningful jobs at home,” concluded Terrence Valen.