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Repository of Practices

Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO)

Primary GCM Objectives

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


2016 - Present

Type of practice


Geographic scope



AMMPARO, “Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities” (AMMPARO) was adopted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) in America in 2016. The strategy was envisioned as an international, holistic, whole-church response to the increased arrival of Central American minors at the U.S.-Mexico border that began in 2011 and reached crisis proportions in 2014. In 2015 an ELCA delegation to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador made observations of how factors such as extreme violence and insecurity, poverty, lack of opportunities and environmental issues were driving scores of vulnerable people, especially youth, to become internally displaced and eventually migrate.

This experience led to the creation and adoption of AMMPARO. AMMPARO works to uphold and promote the basic rights and protection of migrants, address the underlying factors driving migration, and work towards humane policies around a set of three interdependent guiding principles that include accompaniment, awareness building, and advocacy. Ongoing challenges like climate change, political instability, and impunity, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the complex and interrelated factors driving migration in this region, especially in Central America, triggering year-after-year displacement. Appropriately and effectively addressing migration requires a focus on long-term solutions for bettering the conditions that cause people to flee, inclusive of these ongoing and emerging challenges and taking the lead of local stakeholders. Moreover, absent safe and regular pathways to migrate, many vulnerable people from across the world transit through Central America corridors. We recognize that along the way restrictions and precarity deepen the vulnerabilities of people on the move.

The AMMPARO strategy includes over 200 welcoming and sanctuary congregations and ELCA synods in the U.S. and an expanding network of faith-based organizations, churches, and civil society partners in the southern hemisphere. Partners in the region especially play an important part in the implementation of programs to address extreme social and economic vulnerability. Partners are supported by grants from ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response – International and Domestic as well as ELCA World Hunger, global ministries of the ELCA. AMMPARO staff administer funding, engage relationships with key stakeholders and networks, and advance advocacy priorities.


Main Implementing Organization(s)

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Detailed Information

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Partner/Donor Organizations

Iglesia Luterana Mexicana
Grupo de Trabajo sobre Política Migratoria
Cruzando Fronteras Nogales
Iglesia Luterana en Chile and Educación Popular en Salud
Iglesia Evangélica Luterana Unida
Iglesia Luterana Costarricense
Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia
Iglesia Luterana del Perú
Iglesia Luterana Salvadoreña
Asociación Pop No’J
Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala
Comisión de Acción Social Menonita HN and LWF/World Service

Benefit and Impact

Through regular communication and programmatic coordination among network members AMMPARO has been addressing the fundamental causes of migration and addressing the vital protection needs of children and families in their countries of origin, as they transit to places of safety, as well as when they reach destination countries. AMMPARO in the Latin America and Caribbean region includes at least one partner in each of nine countries located along key migration routes (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina) and vary from religious institutions to civil society organizations with no religious affiliation.

Migrant children, youth, and families are supported in key ways including: psychosocial trauma screening and counselling, know-your-rights and legal workshops, and facilitation of access to institutional education, health, and social services. Migrant youth also benefit from advancement and vocational skills training. Some area-specific programs focus on community development and food security initiatives conducted with sustainable agricultural practices in mind; others focus on climate-change adaptation and resiliency, especially in regions most impacted by slow-onset processes such as land degradation, drought, and sea-level rise. In addition to immediate and long-term assistance, AMMPARO partners work to ensure that migrant’s rights and dignity are upheld through coordinated policy advocacy based on multilateral frameworks and shared principles on migration. AMMPARO supports strengthening the spaces for civil society engagement in matters relating to migration public policy. Awareness raising activities enhance awareness of developments in the region impacting migration, and includes resource development to assist ELCA members, partners, and the public in understanding and advocating for migrant’s rights.

Key Lessons

A main challenge identified early in the development of this strategy was determining an appropriate budget for carrying out current and new program activities, as AMMPARO does not have a unique budget unlike other global ministries of the ELCA. Despite this, AMMPARO has managed to receive steady financial support without the need for an overall fundraising strategy which has allowed for the gradual expansion of the AMMPARO network to additional countries.

New developments in the region, such as the mass displacement of Venezuelans into neighboring Colombia, instigated a programmatic review of AMMPARO. Mid-level and high-level meetings among key partners over this period resulted in the continentalization of the strategy, as it absorbed and coordinated migrant ministry programs in and across Latin America. This continentalization process led to the successful integration of programs with partners in Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

The success of the AMMPARO strategy is due to the functionality of its inter-connected networks – the local, regional, and national expressions of the ELCA within the U.S. context; faith-based organizations and civil society organizations in Mexico and Latin America; and the bridges that are being built among key actors throughout the Americas.

All key AMMPARO actors adhere to a common set of programmatic commitments which include the defense of migrant rights, attention to the root causes of forced migration in countries of origin, and a shared recognition of the importance of advocacy on a national, regional, and global level. Our collective work has confirmed the critical importance of being connected, of constant communication, and of programmatic coordination.

The AMMPARO network is sustained by a common sense of mutual respect and trust between its organizational members so that critical information on contextual developments and programmatic innovation is freely shared, without reservation. The overriding concern of all is the inherent dignity and value of migrant children, youth, and families who find themselves in situations of human mobility, and the programmatic imperative of pooling our collective knowledge and experience to reduce the vulnerabilities that migrants face during the distinct phases of the migrant journey.


The ELCA AMMPARO strategy is uniquely positioned to adapt to developments in migration in the region of focus, Latin America and the Caribbean. AMMPARO models accompaniment—a solidarity that practices mutuality and interdependence in mission with its implementation partners and members of the ELCA who gain from the awareness of these concerns and attention brought to them. It is envisioned as a whole-church and whole-of-society approach to migration with authentic and purposeful collaboration across key stakeholders, especially among migrants, experts from civil society organizations, and trusted faith-based organizations. AMMPARO is particularly strong in generating strategic collaborations, sharing best practices, general information sharing, and reproducing outcomes. As evidence that AMMPARO has been a catalyst, the strategy has expanded twice since its inception, first to address migrant needs of Venezuelans, and again to respond to growing hemispheric and transnational migration through key migrant routes in Mexico and Central America. Because it is envisioned as a long-term strategy to support key partners in their work, the outcomes and results of its programs are elastic to change and sustainable, as well as scalable.

Some programs funded by AMMPARO were interrupted by COVID-19. Staff from organizations were unable to distribute certain aid or reach their target population due to pandemic quarantine measures. These lessons have been incorporated in future projects.


ELCA AMMPARO update: A wholistic approach to migration

ELCA AMMPARO update: A wholistic approach to migration

Date submitted:

13 May 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.



*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).