The Missing Migrant Hotline Project is an effort to help families locate loved ones who go missing while crossing the border. To directly respond to the urgency of missing person calls we have a hotline where our staff and volunteers respond to three types of calls: Migrants lost in detention, Migrants lost in the desert, and those who died while crossing.
This project is constantly growing and changing, as is the humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico Border. We see the project not just as a direct service project, but one that focuses on providing tools and resources to help people searching for their loved ones. The project is also a community organizing project, and one that uses the experiences we have through the work to educate, expose and create change.
As a trusted community resource, Derechos Humanos first began to receive calls 15 years ago. Since that time, the project has expanded and formalized collaborations with other groups working on missing migrant cases.
We have a myriad of supporting projects that contribute to the core work of the hotline such as:
- Remembering the Dead
- Over the last 15 years, we have tried to honor those who have died crossing the U.S. Mexico border with a weekly public vigil, a yearly pilgrimage, and an updated record of the numbers of recovered remains on our website.
- The Info to Mexico Shelters Project
- Pamphlets and posters intended to spread information about how people who encounter emergency situations crossing the border can attempt to self-rescue, initiate a rescue for themselves by a group or agency, or initiate a rescue for someone else left behind.
- The information does not seek to influence anyone’s decision, we recognize that they are the only ones who understand their situations enough to make their own choices, but only to provide concrete and helpful information in case of emergencies.
- Community Search and Rescue Collaboration
- Working with existing community teams that respond to Search and Rescue scenarios, providing what we believe to be a human right: an emergency response separated from enforcement agencies.
- Additionally, trying to support the creation of new teams in areas where they do not already exist.
- The Search and Rescue Map Project
- A collaboration with the SAR working group of No More Deaths, this project consists a survey of the border region by satellite map and by ground which will contribute to a map of the borderlands that will help identify areas described by people in their emergent communications with their families.
- The Red de Familiares Project
- A network of families who have experienced specific tragedies that are interested in being in communication with families going through a similar situation.
- The Abuse Documentation Project
- 1 year collaborative investigation with No More Deaths into the policies of the US Border Patrol that create the world in which this project needs to exist.
- Herramientas Project
- Creating and constantly updating Herramientas (tool-kits) for families to use both while searching for their loved one and afterward, if they want to use their experience to advocate for change.