Last week I was at El Comedor, the Jesuit Aid center in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico that serves two meals a day to recently deported people as well as an orientation to their human rights, medical help and free calls to their families.
Sister Engracia, a Missionary of the Eucharist, in Mexico is the educator. She talks to the recently reported about their rights with dignity and respect. This morning she asked the men, "How do you feel, What is on your mind?" Answers: "I miss my family, my sons, and my community."
How can it be that politicians in the United States always talk about the importance of family values, but the US immigration system constantly separates families. I see the reality every day - at El Comedor, at the family shelters where a mother with children arrives without her husband who usually is sent to a detention center and in visits with women and men at the Eloy Detention Center.
Senator Bernie Sanders said during his Presidential campaign:
"The next time you hear a politician talking about 'family values' you may want to ask whether they support measures which really help American families." The answer is that immigration policies do not support family unity but instead separate families. It's true that not all of them are "American" families but many of the families are "mixed status" families meaning that some are U.S. citizens and some are not.
At the Comedor last Thursday was a slender woman accompanied by the Mexican consulate, other officials and several TV stations. A Mexican woman from Chiapas who had just been deported, asked me who she was and why she was crying. I did not know but I learned the next morning that it was Guadaloupe Garcia de Rayos, the first person deported under the new Trump "tougher" issues. As her daughter said, "No one should have the pain of watching your mother deported, of packing her clothes and of losing my mother."www.cnn.com/2017/02/09/us/arizona-guadalupe-garcia-de-rayos-protests/index.html
Wednesday night I attended a legal panel at the University of Arizona Law School on Trump's executive orders. It was a depressing evening. Although President Obama's practices resulted in several million deportees, he had issued priorities focused on proven criminal actions. Mothers such as Guadaloupe with U.S. children were not a high priority.
Here are several Trump's priorities:
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Become an UndocuAngel - As a US citizen, be prepared to act to help an undocumented immigrant to serve as a voice/advocate in case they are arrested or detained. This concept originated with a Tucson immigration lawyer, Mo Goldman, and was shared on Wednesday evening. goldmanimmigrationblog.blogspot.com/
I am also posting under Resources a guide from the Sanctuary movement as to how we can act. - See Links on this website.
As Roxy Bacon, former chief counsel, Department of Homeland Security, said: 'you're not as scared, if you're prepared." I urge everyone of you reading this blog to become an undocuangel - act and support undocumented immigrants! As U.S. citizens we can stand with, act with and be with our undocumented brothers and sisters NOW!
My life has been about crossing borders and cultures and building bridges across the boundaries that normally divide. Have you crossed any borders in your life?