With Mary and Joseph leading more than 300 immigrants, refugees and faithful followers Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Mary Ann with Carmen from San Miguel joined the Franciscan Friars carrying a poster with a quote from Pope Francis,
With the spirit of Mercy we embrace all who are obligated to leave their countries due to discrimination, persecution, poverty, and the deterioration of the environment. (Pope Francis)
Walking along the iron border wall, these are the ones seeking asylum.
We listened to stories about recent asylum seekers, like Estrella, 23yrs old, from El Salvador. Her mother was killed by the drug cartel for not being able to pay the mandatory quota. Estrella desperately tried to take care of her three siblings (Marta 9, Sergio 12 and Blanca 2yrs old). She was able to keep up with paying the quota for a while, when the cartel said they would take Sergio as a result of inability to pay. It was then Estrella made the dangerous trip with her brother and sisters to Tijuana pleading for asylum. The U.S. determined that she was not a close enough relative to have her family accepted for asylum. U.S. customs separated Sergio and Marta, sending Marta to a detention center for youth in Michigan and Sergio to a detention center in Texas. Estrella and Blanca were refused admission. Finding no place to stay, with no help Estrella made her way to Nogales to present herself with little Blanca again for asylum. There they were put into a cold detention center for over a week with little food, sleeping on cement floors. Again, they were denied entry. Little Blanca has been sick and lost a lot of weight. They are currently being helped by the “Kino Border Initiative” run by the Jesuits and a mountain of volunteers. Unfortunately, this is one of millions of stories of families pleading for asylum in the U.S… The Kino Border initiative advocates
Together with the Holy Family we look for hospitality in the form of:
—re-introduction of asylum,
—a just process of being considered for asylum with the capacity of living with relatives away
from a detention center while waiting for the asylum hearing
— an end to the policy of being forced to stay in Mexico
These are the faces of those President Trump is so against seeking a safe place to live and raise their children.
Upon arriving at the Kino “Comador” (food kitchen), everyone one of the 300+ pilgrims were welcomed with a warm turkey dinner and home-made cupcake desserts. Sister Mary Ann, Carmen along with the Mary, Joseph and the other teens were privileged to help serve the dinner to the migrants and refugees. Father Sean Carroll, S.J., executive director of the Kino Border Initiative, led the Las Posadas’ prayer beginning with, “no one rejects you in this place, like the stable in Bethlehem, you are welcome here.”