Filling an Information Void on the Border

Filling an Information Void on the Border

A girl rests her head on a woman's shoulder while the woman reads a newspaperThe ever-changing immigration situation in Central America, Mexico, and the U.S. is complicated. While the issue is heavily reported on in the US, migrants themselves urgently need timely news and information.

People are weighing the decision to leave their homes and migrate based on hearsay from friends and family members. They are often basing this life-altering move on misinformation, rumors, or insufficient information. Many arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border unprepared for the legal and logistical situation ahead.

The Listening Post Collective, a project of Internews, launched El Migrante to fill the information void.

What is El Migrante?

El Migrante started with an information needs survey of hundreds of people in Tijuana, to learn what kind of information is most useful, what questions people have, and the best platforms to share answers, news and information.

In January 2019 we began disseminating a printed weekly news bulletin to shelters and migrant resource organizations, sharing a digital version of our weekly bulletin via a WhatsApp group for migrants where we also answer daily questions, and creating an audio podcast version for those with literacy issues. We have produced 19 newsletters and podcast episodes and distributed more than 10,000 printed newsletters.

Listen to the podcasts     Read the bulletins

3 photos showing people reading the El Migrante newsletter
Based on interviews and feedback with migrants, El Migrante produces targeted news and information, delivered in print, on WhatsApp, and as a podcast. Credit: Internews

In its pilot phase, El Migrante has reached thousands of migrants with crucial news related to their questions and information needs at the border including:

  • Safe shelters and housing
  • Employment opportunities in Mexico
  • Changes in asylum and migration processes
  • Connections to aid and legal support organizations

As for how people are using El Migrante, one woman at a shelter in Mexicali read a story in the bulletin that helped her find a safer place to stay in Tijuana that catered to women and children. Another migrant tipped off El Migrante that the operators of a large shelter in Tijuana were planning to close it down, enabling us to push for clarity on that situation and provide people an adequate amount of time to transition to a new living space. A Honduran migrant with a Mexican work permit contacted us to find out whether employers could legally reject him for being a foreigner. We brought his question to a local official and were able to report that no – employers doing this were in in violation of Mexican labor laws.

Support this work:

  • Partner. We are seeking funding to support our existing work, and the plans and local partnerships we have in place to expand to other locations along the border. Get in touch to discuss collaboration or review concept notes: info@internews.org
  • Donate. Your contributions to this work are valuable. Donate online, and indicate “El Migrante” in the “additional information” field.