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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Kino Missions - sadly waiting for refuge

Kino Border Initiative: 
Father Sean Carroll sj, Executive Director
  • Participation in collaborative networks that engage in research and advocacy to transform local, regional, and national immigration policies.
It's absolutely beyond belief and tragic to know that tens of thousands of refugees are trying to enter the United States, but are bottle necked for processing, detained and often rejected at the US Mexican border, just because they are seeking a better way of life. These people have not been engaged in crimes. In fact, they desperately want to work, but the US immigration policy is now clamping down on all of them, without  a consistent triage system for their humanitarian needs. It's a cruel Donald Trump right wing policy, rooted in selfishness, and protectionism and shouldn't be tolerated by any Americans.  Nevertheless, the news media isn't allowed to freely publish their plight because right wing Republican governors don't want Americans to know what's happening on their international borders with Mexico. Therefore, we live with our heads buried, not knowing the immigration indignities being suffered by refugees.  

What I don't understand is how this can be allowed when the Mexicans and the Hispanics who live in Central America are among our First Nations groups? In other words, although these desperate people are not Native Americans, the fact is they were invaded by the ambitious Spanish and their heritage dates back thousands of  years. 

My friend Father John Michalowski, sj, visited the Kino Missions where refugees are awaiting processing for immigration.  It's tragic to know how Donald Trump is now cutting funding for these humanitarian programs just because he can.

Father John lives and works in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is what he wrote:
Father John Michalowski sj with Julie (Maine Writer) 
Topsham Maine

Social Justice is an area that I have time to concentrate on (in Charlotte).  In the fall of 2016, four of us from the parish went to Nogales, in Arizona and to Nogales, in Mexico, to visit the Kino Border Initiative.  Nogales is a major place from the deportation of illegal immigrants and those whose asylum petitions have been rejected. People are loaded on buses from various for-profit detention centers and driven to Mexico where they go through a people version of a cattle-0shoot, into Mexican customs. They are processed there and then taken to the Kino-run comedor, what we would cal a soup-kitchen. They, there are greeted with dignity, given something to eat, given regular clothes, rather than detention -clothing and they can call their families. Some have been in the US for over a decade. Some were brought as children and their main language is English. Some left spouses an children and jobs behind. Those who are escaping the gang violence and the world's highest murder rates in Central America are mostly turned down for refugee status because American law only recognized refugees from war or political or religious or ethnic persecution.  We need a better system than we have for immigration and processing of these people. AT least, those without felonies should be allowed to get work permits so that their families are not broken up.  Most are doing jobs that few Americans want to do. On another note, over sixty members of the parish were involved in a discussion of cultural racism with members of a Catholic African American parish in Charlotte this past weekend.  Some of the stories were both sad and frightening. Clearly, our society has a long way to go. Enough progress has not been made.  
Peace and joy in the Lord, John

Epilogue from Maine Writer- The desperate refugees and asylum seekers have a recourse. They can assemble, en masse, by the thousands and storm the border.  In so doing, they would set up a video similar to what Native Americans are doing when their lands are being trampled by capitalists.  Mexicans and Hispanics from Central America are First Nations peoples, at least in my mind they are. They deserve to have access to their own country, border or not. It's the right thing to do. 

Donald Trump's mother was a Scottish immigrant. One would like to think that his public policy towards immigration should honor her memory.

The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) is a binational organization that works in the area of migration and is located in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The KBI was inaugurated in January of 2009 by six organizations from the United States and Mexico: The California Province of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus, the Diocese of Tucson and the Archdiocese of Hermosillo. The KBI’s vision is to help make humane, just, workable migration between the U.S. and Mexico a reality. Its mission is to promote US/Mexico border and immigration policies that affirm the dignity of the human person and a spirit of bi-national solidarity through:

  • Direct humanitarian assistance and accompaniment with migrants;
  • Social and pastoral education with communities on both sides of the border;
  • Participation in collaborative networks that engage in research and advocacy to transform local, regional, and national immigration policies.

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