Indigenous groups say they are left out of US immigration debate

Brian Osgood
Date of Publication: 
July, 2023
Source Organization: 

Indigenous asylum seekers from Latin America often face language barriers and discrimination on their journey to the US.

As the United States enacts numerous policies that critics say restrict access to asylum, rights groups have expressed concern that such policies could have especially severe impacts on Indigenous migrants.

While narrowing asylum pathways has thrown life into flux for many of those seeking refuge in the US, Indigenous people say that the obstacles they face – from language barriers to discrimination and violence – have gone largely unrecognised in conversations about immigration.

“We don’t migrate for a good life. We’re forced to leave. Parents send their children on this journey to save their lives,” said Geronimo Ramirez, a Maya-Ixil community organiser who lives in the US and works with the International Mayan League, a Maya-led human rights organisation.

“But we have been invisible. In immigration statistics, we’re characterised as Latino or Hispanic. Our identity has been assassinated.”

Download now or view online.


Osgood, B. (2023, July). Indigenous groups say they are left out of US immigration debate. Al Jazeera.