The Path to Safety
Each year, tens of thousands of people leave their home countries in search of safety from violence or persecution. For many asylum seekers, however, the journey to a better life is filled with unimaginable risks and dangers.
In South America, asylum seekers often embark on the perilous route between Colombia and Panama, known as the Darien Gap. Families and individuals traversing this once-impassable stretch of dense jungle risk dehydration, venomous snake encounters, drownings, and attacks from criminal groups. In Mexico, vulnerable families seeking to escape violent cartels cling to the side and huddle together on top of the notorious freight train known as "La Bestia" (The Beast). Passengers are exposed to freezing temperatures at night and scorching heat during the day.
Tragically, not all who embark on these treacherous paths will reach their final destination. Those who do must prepare to face countless more barriers and challenges both at the border and within the United States. With our local partners, we welcome families and individuals seeking asylum and we advocate for the protection of the most vulnerable newcomers.
Explore the common paths and stops people make on their journey to safety.
Latest Action Alerts
Church World Service Responds to End of Title 42, Asylum Ban Reinstatement
Washington D.C.—CWS today expressed its alarm following an announcement from the Biden administration reinstating a version of a Trump-era asylum ban, which would require many of those seeking protection in the United States to first be denied asylum in another country before being allowed to apply through the U.S. asylum system. The ban is set to go into effect the …
TAKE ACTION: Tell Our National Leaders to Support Welcoming, Humane Border Solutions
On May 11, the end of the public health emergency associated with the COVID-19 pandemic will trigger the automatic end of the cruel and unlawful Title 42 policy at the border. Title 42 is a pandemic-era authority, first implemented by the Trump administration in March 2020, that has been wrongfully used over 2.6 million times to rapidly expel migrants at …
Administration Plans for Regional Processing Centers for Refugees and Migrants in the Western Hemisphere Raises Questions, Leads to Calls for Permanent Protections
Washington, D.C.—Church World Service today expressed cautious optimism over new plans by the Biden administration to significantly increase refugee resettlement from Latin America and the Caribbean and establish new Regional Processing Centers (RPCs), while denouncing the coupling of these plans with exclusionary anti-asylum policies like the asylum transit and entry ban and increased reliance on expedited removal at the border. …
TAKE ACTION: Urge Members of Congress to Support Unaccompanied Children and their Families
Now is a critical time for Congress and the administration to ensure unaccompanied children and their caregivers receive the support they need so that children have a safe and stable home and community where they are protected from exploitative and dangerous working conditions. Congress must also ensure that unaccompanied children and their families have access to child-appropriate, trauma-informed, and culturally …
Reported Reinstatement of Trump-Era Rapid Asylum Processing Signals a Step Back for Biden Administration, Sounds an Alarm for those Legally Seeking Asylum
Washington, D.C.—In response to reports that the Biden Administration will begin reimplementing expedited and harmful asylum processes that would limit due process and access to asylum protections at the U.S. southern border, Danilo Zak, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at CWS issued the following statement: “Reinstating rapid asylum processing that requires vulnerable migrants to remain in deeply inadequate and …
TAKE ACTION: Urge National Leaders to Reject Biden Administration’s Unlawful Asylum Ban
On February 21st, the Biden administration announced it is preparing to implement an asylum ban that would have a devastating impact on those fleeing persecution and arriving at our doors. The proposed ban draws direct inspiration from the reckless and life-threatening border policies of the Trump era — in particular two asylum restrictions (an asylum “transit ban” and an asylum …