MIGRANT MINISTRY UPDATE
This week Srs. Natalia Mejia and Rosie Nicholson were joined by Cathy Minihan (left) Pat Clausen (middle) and Cheryl Nichols (right), who came to experience the lives of the asylum seekers in the San Diego border area. They received a warm welcome from the workers at the shelter, participated in art activities with us and met migrant families with new born babies. This week several migrants were in quarantine due to the flu.
Also, this week ICE and Border Agents were not releasing many migrants from the detention center nor at the border entry. Please pray that migrants will be released promptly. After learning of this at the shelter in the morning on Wednesday, Feb. 26 that same night we participated in a movement "Doctors for Camp Closures" (being held in several locations including Washington, DC, NYC, Newton and Plymouth MA and others on Feb. 26). They hung banners and held lighted signs over several highway overpasses saying "Restore Asylum". Here are Cheryl and Sr. Rosie Nicholson on the overpass. This was in response to a study by Physicians for Human Rights which stated that our harmful US immigration policies - remain in Mexico, detention, deportation and family separation - causes violence comparable to torture to migrants entering the US seeking asylum. This was quite a moving day that we shared at our night prayer!
We also spent time meeting with the young adults at the Border Angels office who shared their experiences of working with migrants by leaving water bottles in the Borrego Desert (left) for those entering illegally, assisting with free immigration lawyers, posting bail to release migrants in detention to reunite families, 'caravans of love' delivering donations to shelters in Tijuana, etc.
While we were visiting Chicano Park afterwards we briefly met Enrique Morones (retired founder of Border Angels now with Gente Unida) who keeps me informed of migrant issues and events such as the one Feb. 26. Chicano Park presented colorful artistic murals, such as this one, depicting the journey of the Latino people over the centuries.
Next, we met Pedro, a friend of Cheryl, who works with several groups enhancing human rights especially with the many migrants in our area. It was energizing to meet with so many people of various ages, different faiths, all weaving a web of relationships to provide hope and new life to our migrants and immigrant communities here and across our country.
Our next stop will be the desert to see where many dangerously seek entry into the US and to pray for 'our neighbor' - living and deceased. On Saturday, we will head to the Border Angels shelter in Tijuana, Mexico on the beach next to the border wall. Every day I hear in my heart the question, "Who is my neighbor?”. There is always freshness and newness in response to this question. This week while tenderly holding a newborn in my arms at the shelter, the question was quite clear...and so was the answer.
- Sr. Rosie Nicholson, RJM