Attorney General Keith Ellison is taking part in a trip to Central America on Sunday organized by immigrant groups seeking to show elected officials and civic leaders firsthand “the issues that influence migration.”
The weeklong trip to El Salvador and Honduras is sponsored by Alianza Americas, a network of Latin American and Caribbean immigrant organizations in the U.S. Ellison and the solicitor general of Nevada, Heidi Stern, are traveling with a handful of activists and philanthropic leaders from the San Francisco area.
“Thousands of Minnesotans come from Central America. They perform vital roles in health care, education and agriculture, and they contribute to every community in our state,” Ellison said Friday. He added that his office regularly deals with issues related to Central Americans, from defending immigrant children in detention to opposing the separation of children and families at the U.S. border.
“I’m heading to Honduras and El Salvador to listen to people and see for myself what’s driving immigration to the U.S. and Minnesota,” he said.
A spokesman for Ellison’s office said no state funds would be spent on the trip and that Ellison would not be accompanied by anyone from his office.
The trip starts Sunday with stops scheduled along the northern coast of Honduras. Organizers say the group will meet with Afro-Central American and indigenous community land activists to discuss factors that have driven people to flee the region. They also are meeting with community organizers who are working with individuals who have been deported from the U.S. and Mexico or otherwise forced to return to the region.
The group also will meet with Garifuna, or Afro-Central American, elected officials who seek to increase representation of historically marginalized black communities in the local and national government in Honduras.
In El Salvador, the group will visit the site of 1981’s El Mozote massacre, where the Salvadoran army killed more than 800 civilians during the Salvadoran Civil War.