I decided to go on this journey to the border because of everything that’s happening right now. There are so many stories of migrants trying to find better lives, trying to cross a border that shuts us off from our neighbors in Mexico. I was able to hear a few of these many stories when communicating with the migrants at the shelters. I learned how complex and unique each story is and how unheard these stories are.
On Saturday we visited the Pimeria Alta Historical Society Museum and the most impactful thing I remember about it is the picture of where Mexico and the United States meet before a barrier was installed. In the picture, there were no walls, no fences, nothing creating a boundary between the neighboring countries. Astrid, one of the workers at the museum, told us that people used to just walk over to the other side and get a drink or have dinner. Now, you have to wait in a tedious line of cars in order to get back to the US. Security has to check your passports and search the car. Anyone who doesn’t have those documents has no chance of crossing over.
So many people are trying to escape from terrible lives and dangerous neighborhoods. One of the most basic teachings in religion is to love your neighbors. Unfortunately, migrants are being turned away by their closest neighbor, the U.S. We have created boundaries and left them to face death as they struggle to cross the desert, traveling miles just to be met with a wall blocking their hope for a new life ー a safe home to bring their families to.
On Thursday we went to the Federal Courthouse in Tucson where migrants were being charged for trying to illegally cross the border. One man revealed that he had seen a body on his journey through the desert. Try to imagine seeing a body in the desert and being unable to do anything about it. Having to leave it there when you know that someone could be waiting to hear from them. This man faced a traumatic experience and had to ask the court if he could get counseling. They said was if someone was available at the moment, they could give him that. But as he walked away with his hands and feet in shackles, I doubted he would get the support he needed.
Unfortunately, many of these migrants voices are unheard and they all have powerful and complex stories. That is one of the reasons we came. In order to hear these stories and share them. Many people make assumptions about this immigration crisis. Many people don’t understand how much hardships these migrants have faced, how many families have been separated, and how many lives have been lost. I am so grateful I have had the opportunity to hear these stories and show the migrants that there are people who care and who will listen to them.
- Kaitlyn, St. Chrysostom’s, Quincy and Brockton Covenant, Brockton