Wow, the past few days have been really informative. We started Tuesday out at the border wall in El Paso hearing from border control. They talked a lot about the issues that are controversial, and a lot of us students felt as if they were just defending themselves. They provided basic information but seemed to be lacking detail. It was still good to hear from them, but our host informed us of other experiences opposite of what they told us. We got to walk along the wall and also think and process all of the information we just received. We had lunch at Cafe Mayapan, a traditional Mayan restaurant. SO GOOD! We visited the Walmart memorial. From this spot in the parking lot we can see Juarez, the mountains, and El Paso all as one community. You can’t see borders from where you stand.
Our host partner shared her personal experience with migration and how it has affected her own family’s life. That was very emotional to listen to. We finished Day 3 out listening to Ruben Garcia who is the founder of Annunciation House, which has been a hospitality and welcoming place for migrants and refugees seeking asylum. He wanted to move us into action with his stories and what he’s seen and knows. He encouraged us to vote and volunteer and think about what we want for our future as citizens of this country. It was a long but inspiring day. We came home ready to sleep for sure.
On day 4 we started by listening to someone in the Immersion organization inform us on the court system. We went from this presentation straight to the U.S District Court. It was a tough experience for us to witness. We can always imagine this scene, but being there and hearing shackles and the commotion really puts your heart into a new position. Because of the “zero-tolerance” policy the court now tries immigrants with former deportation backgrounds as felons. The only crime they committed was crossing the border again. This is an issue because the USA can be seen as the only home, because it is where they have lived for so many years, either because of DACA or other circumstances. We did not sit through the entire processing, because there were 64 immigrants. This was a hard part of the day, but we got to relax and explore more of Las Cruces after. We ended the day hearing about hospitality for refugees and about the MPP (migrant protection protocol). This was a very informative presentation, considering there was a Supreme Court ruling on it today. We ate dinner with the church and other immersion groups. We have enjoyed the weather by debriefing outside and taking a short walk to Baskin Robbins.
Thank you for all your prayers through this journey of ours.
Victoria Gross and Sadie Escalona