News Flash! The jury announced on June 11 that it was deadlocked 8 to 4 for acquittal!
On our recent trip to the border (10 women from Connecticut), we saw the unforgiving landscape those who are fleeing violence, drought and poverty must navigate if they choose not to apply for asylum at a border crossing, which carries its own dangers.
We continue to think about the people we met on our journey. We wonder if those waiting on the Mexican side reached their U.S. destinations, where they will pursue their asylum claims. The recent (or not so recent) agreement between the U.S. and Mexico cements the requirement that asylum seekers wait on the Mexican side.
Meanwhile, I just received the newsletter from the Monastery, run by Casa Alitas, where we volunteered for a few days (see my blog from April 9, below). It is full of joys and sorrows, recounting the incredibly rewarding but also frustrating and sad work of volunteers who walk with immigrants who often must deal with tragedy. It made me want to go right back to Tucson. You can read it here, and see how to donate to this extremely effective project, or you can go directly to the donate button here or through their GoFundMe page here.
Another very deserving project is a free health service in Nogales, Mexico, run by a Mexican nurse named Pancho Olachea Martin out of an old ambulance that he parks in a neighborhood where migrants and anyone else in need of health care can get treatment. (That's Pancho and some of his patients above.) He told us he depends for 100% of his funding on the generosity of visitors, mostly from the U.S. I loved his obvious commitment, delivered with a great sense of humor. I’m hoping that my friends who work in health care, especially, might want to support his work. You can donate by visiting his newsletter and scrolling down here:
A third very effective program we visited is el Comedor (the Dining Room) in Nogales, run by the Kino Border Initiative. Volunteers serve lunch every day to hundreds of migrants (see photo below), as well as provide clothing and first aid, with big helpings of love. You can check it out and donate here:
On the home front, on May 30 the Connecticut General Assembly passed an important update to the Trust Act originally passed in 2013. The update removed most of the loopholes that allowed ICE agents to pick up and detain undocumented immigrants, most of whom were detained due to a prior removal but not convicted of a crime. Those who have a serious felony conviction or are on the terrorist watch list are not protected by the updated Trust Act. This puts Connecticut back near the top of states protecting the rights of the undocumented. Click here to listen to/read an interview I did with the organizer for the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance about their successful coalition effort with Unidad Latina en Acción, Make the Road Connecticut, Hartford Deportation Defense, Connecticut Bail Fund, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, 32BJ SEIU, Working Families Party, and CT Students for A Dream.
Here are links to two more short pieces I filed from my trip, for National Native News, specifically relating to the indigenous folks who are crossing the border. (For the second story, scroll down to April 17.) And here's a half-hour show from WINGS, Women's International News Gathering Service.