"But if any one has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth."
I John 3: 16-18
Our trip to the Federal Courthouse in Tucson to observe the Operation Streamline proceedings generated a bit of a shock to us today and also challenged some of our preconceived ideas.
Yesterday while driving through the desert and hiking the migrant trail in the Ajo and Sasabe region, we saw evidence of significant border patrol activity including drones, helicopters, many Border Patrol vehicles, and even Border Patrol Agents taking migrants into custody. While we talked about these observations a couple of times during and after our hike, we also enjoyed the comforts of modern life including hot showers, restaurant food, and the pool. Imagine our surprise when we realized that at least two of the four dozen migrants presented at Operation Streamline this afternoon were picked up yesterday in the Sasabe region. What had they been doing in the 24 hours since being taken into custody?
In preparing for Operation Streamline, some of us had grave concerns that the process might not respect the dignity and rights of the migrants. The judge demonstrated care for the migrants while following the law and making sure that they understood the proceedings. For example, one migrant had found a dead body in his travels and wanted to make sure that the body was located and properly taken care of for the peace of the family. The judge agreed for him to be interviewed by Border Patrol prior to deportation to help locate the body and to meet with either a chaplain or counselor to address his emotional distress that was in response to finding the deceased human and not being able to immediately help.
One thing that has not changed is our realization that the challenges of migration are incredibly complex. Every person that we have talked with while in Arizona and Mexico has expressed discontent with the current state of the issue and recognized a need for a significant overhaul of the system.