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Jueves, 31 Octubre 2019 04:00

Solidarity, the Border, and Right-to-Life

Written by Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss
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Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss – Portland Chapter

Portland area Catholics leading prayerful gathering for the detained immigrant children: John Kingery, Affiliates Manny Hotchkiss and Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss, and Eileen Sleva

We gathered in solidarity with the immigrant children being held in detention at the US border, and in support of a Catholic Day of Action in El Paso, October 12. A small group of Catholics, including Maryknoll Affiliates, gathered in front of the Cathedral of St. Mary in Portland that same Saturday. Our actions were inspired by the three national “Catholic Day of Action” events held on July 18 in Washington, DC, September 4 in New Jersey, and October 12 in El Paso. The Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, at https://maryknollogc.org/calendar/el-paso-catholic-day-action-immigrant-children explained why:

We launched the campaign after we were shocked by images in a recent Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s report showing immigrant and refugee children detained in cages, separated from family members, and living in unsanitary, unhealthy conditions.

At the prayerful gathering in Portland (https://www.catholicsentinel.org/Content/News/Local/Article/Welcoming-children-a-life-issue/2/35/38631?s=1), we each held a card showing one of the seven children who had died in detention. We prayed for these children, their families, and all the detained children. As we processed on the sidewalk outside the church, we prayed the rosary and meditated on the following words of a detained 12-year-old from Ecuador, a 16-year-old from El Salvador, a 5-year-old from Honduras, a 12-year-old from Guatemala, and a 16-year-old mother from Honduras.

The officers took everything from us except our documents. They even took our shoelaces. There was a mother in our group traveling with a very young baby. The officers took her diapers, baby formula, and nearly everything else she had and threw it away.

The water here is horrible. It tastes like chlorine. We can use cups to drink the water. But the water tastes awful and I don’t like it at all.

The officials here are very bad to us. During the night when we’re trying to sleep they come in and wake us up, yelling and scaring us. Sometimes children rise up in the night and officials yell at them to lay back down.

The guards who are yelling don’t speak much Spanish, so it’s hard to understand what they’re saying. My sisters and I are very scared when they yell at us and other children.

Every night my sisters keep asking me, ‘When will our mommy come to get us?’ I don’t know what to tell them. It’s very hard for all of us to be here.”

The immigration agents separated me from my father right away. I was very frightened and scared. I cried. I have not seen my father again. 

I have been at this facility for several days. I have not been told how long I have to stay here. I am frightened, scared, and sad. 

I have had a cold and cough for several days. I have not seen a doctor and I have not been given any medicine. It is cold at night when we sleep. I have shoes but no socks.

These words come from interviews by lawyers of more than 60 children at US Border Patrol facilities in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley were reported on HuffPost.

The faith community cries out against this inhumane treatment of children, not only as a violation of human dignity and rights, but also as contrary to religious teachings and the sacred call to care for people who are most at risk, especially children. We call on our elected leaders to end the abuse, trauma, and detention of migrant children.—MaryknollOGC.org


“Each one of us can speak to someone,” said Sleva. “Our words can turn into a stream, joining others that become a river, that then joins the ocean and we can reach the entire world.”

For other ways to express your concern and solidarity see https://maryknollogc.org/alerts and https://paxchristiusa.org/.


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Read 115 times Last modified on Jueves, 31 Octubre 2019 18:29
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