THE PLIGHT OF MIGRANTS’ FAMILIES

Throughout the years of my stay at the border, I have felt overwhelmed and saddened by the increasing reports and tragic experiences of migrants and their children. Stories about family separation are common.

THE PLIGHT OF MIGRANTS’ FAMILIES

by Rosalia Basada

Filipina Columban lay missionary assigned in El Paso, Texas

Throughout the years of my stay at the border, I have felt overwhelmed and saddened by the increasing reports and tragic experiences of migrants and their children. Stories about family separation are common. These would include either the parents or the children were somewhere in the USA, their exact location unknown. Meanwhile, some were left behind in their own country, getting separated as they sought asylum in the USA by crossing the border illegally.  Some parents were sent to jail while their children were placed in foster care. This kind of news broke my heart and fostered in me a feeling of hopelessness.

I stayed in El Paso in the beginning of 2020, and a part of my activities involved visiting families as well as continuing to help in the community and family gardens. After the US elections, it was already easier for me to go back and forth to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and so, I started helping out again at the migrant shelters. I was put in charge of the children in the Papa Francisco Shelter where I facilitated activities and taught arts and crafts and other activities for children.

 

My thoughts are not God’s thoughts. In my reflection, I often wondered what God’s message is whenever I left the border area with a heavy heart, just like families being separated. My flight home to the Philippines was cancelled four times before I could finally get a flight. Three days before I left the border for my home vacation, one family from the shelter asked me to go with them to the airport. I accompanied them, and I waited until they passed through the checking of documents before I left. I felt a sense of relief after that experience. I was happy to see a complete united family travelling and staying together. I pray that God will continue to sustain them with the strength they need to keep going and to comfort them as they continue along the journey of life.

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