San Salvador, El Salvador - January 29

A final meeting with an international organization caused Cathleen to reflect on the method of our approach.  Each country has a small core group of organizations that work on migration issues—usually a mix of policy, research, and social services.  What she saw unique about our work was that we were bringing to the table experts on the substantive area of law—labor.  Apparently, issues related to migration are relegated to the small group of migration advocates regardless of the underlying issue.  The groups that specialize in those issues, say health or law, are not necessarily involved since it becomes labeled a “migrant issue.”  She really liked our approach and looked forward to seeing the Defender Network develop in the region.

It is true that Global Workers looks to partner with organizations with legal capacity, educational outreach capacity, and infrastructure to handle the legal related cases of returned migrants.  However, since many of those core migrant groups do not fit into those neat categories, it has meant that some obvious migration advocacy groups are not in the Defender Network.  This has lead to some challenges when regarding policy efforts on the national level.  As we are hitting year 5 of the Defender Network’s existence, it is an opportune moment to reflect on the model and lessons learned and make adjustments to expand even further in the next five years.  

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