Friday, December 9, 2011

Undocumented Immigrants

Friends and Family,
I am the daughter of Irish parents who immigrated in the 1920's; they came also for economic reasons but they had visas and someone in the United States to greet them. This is not the reality of the undocumented immigrants, who at great personal risk of life, go North in search of work to give their family the bare necessities of life, mainly food. There are many hungry people here. The immigrants first cross the Mexican border and into Mexico. This country, especially border towns, are extremely dangerous for the presence of Narcotic trafficking. Immigrants are kidnapped, robbed, obligated to participate in crimes, and often murdered; they never make it to their destiny of HOPE, the USA. Usually their bodies are never recovered; families have no news from them and the worst is presumed. Some immigrants choose to stay in Mexico if they can find employment.

Thus is the story of a young man who arrived at our clinic with two siblings, including a ten month old baby. His parents and one sibling remain in jail in Mexico; they are accused of a crime he claims they are innocent. The father apparently selling tortillas, with his wife, when two of his other children were accused, by a passerby, of breaking into an auto. He said the baby was put in a nursery until two siblings were released, after three months in jail! Ten family members were arrested and jailed. This was March 2011; all but three were released in June. He said he was told if other family members came to the jail looking for his parents they would be encarcelated too. He related that his parents jail sentence is eight years. This young man is distraught. His own wife abandoned him, with their infant, when he returned to his community, because he began to drink alcohol. He now is the caregiver for his other siblings, including his 10 month old brother, Salomón. He requested milk for the baby. We did provide powder milk and a protein supplement, free medical consult and vitamins.

We have requested assistance from the catechist, or person who works with the small Catholic church in the community, to follow up with the older, caregiver brother.
Hopefully he can facilitate the reconciliation for him with his wife and return to their home to help care for the extended family. The catechist also will advise the young man about his alcohol consumption. Today, a week later, they arrived again at the clinic; they had not eaten breakfast, and were requesting more milk and medication for diarrhea for the infant. We provided milk, protein supplement, breakfast and necessary medication.

Immigration reform is an issue for the American Congress. Pray for these immigrants and for a just resolution to Immigration reform, which would allow immigrants to work legally, even for short terms and enter safely to our country by bus transportation. The Catholic Church is supportive of Immigration Reform.

Thanks. Love Sheila
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Diocese of Helena;
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Diocese of Helena
Guatemala Mission
Mark Frei
P.O. Box 1729
Helena, MT