US & World

Spirituality Underpins US Border Immigration – WJET / WFXP /

Tucson, Arizona (AP) — Alvaro Enciso plants three or four crosses each week on the Arizona desert border.

Each of the colorful wooden monuments shows where the bone aggregates or disassembled corpses were found. For over eight years, the artist has been dotted with empty black plastic jugs and camouflage backpacks under swirling turkey vultures in more than 1,000 public lands.

“Anything here can kill you,” Ensis said. “Blisters, snakes, lack of water”

Protecting immigrants and respecting the humanity of those who died on dangerous roads is a religion in southern Arizona, a campaign for spiritual leaders to protect Central Americans fleeing civil war 40 years ago. Founded the Sanctuary Movement. Today’s heritage.

A belief-based group engaged in immigration activities provides asylum, a Catholic community service in southern Arizona that operates shelters, from Tucson Samaritan, which leaves life-saving water, food, and other food in remote wilderness. We operate a wide range of businesses, from methodists to those who do. We are looking for a family with legal assistance and a place to stay, to name a few.

Enciso’s art project “Where Dreams Die” fits perfectly into that spiritual tradition, but believes that there is nothing overtly religious in mourning the dead.

On September 24, 2020, he placed a gold cross in a jumping cactus where an unknown male bone was found. The cause and approximate year of the death of a man about a mile north of State Highway 86 is unknown.

“Can you imagine what their family would experience without knowing what happened to them?” Ensis said.

Volunteer Michele Majora kisses the fist of a fresh sage, turns east, south, west, north, holds a fist for the Mother of the Earth in prayer, and a fist for the Heavenly Father. Raised.

“I feel like I have to realize that something happened here,” Maggiora said.

These activities began with the creation of the Sanctuary Movement in 1981 and spread to 12 Tucson churches and synagogues, more than 500 US Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish congregations to protect people in worship halls. It is based on ancient traditions.

Rev. John Fife III, who retired at the age of 81, said that then-Tucson Southside Presbyterian minister and Quaker friend Jim Corbett was fleeing to the United States to escape violence. I told him.

The men remembered Matthew 25:35.

Fife and Corbett, who died in 2001, immediately smuggled Central American immigrants to the United States and evacuated them to their homes, despite their wives’ protests. The church accepted about 13,000 asylum seekers in the 1980s, with up to 100 sleeping on the floor on certain nights.

“I felt I had to resign as a minister if I didn’t help,” Fife recently told the Southside Chapel. This chapel is modeled after an indigenous ritual structure called Kiva.

Fife was convicted of violating US immigration law in 1986 and served five years of probation, which did not discourage him.

In 2000 he contributed to the founding of Humane Borders. It maintains a 55 gallon (208 liter) plastic blue barrel and a water station with a blue flag visible from a distance. Two years later, he co-founded the Southside ministry, Tucson Sumaritans. This is to send volunteers to the wilderness, leaving water and food, along with the stupid and Green Valley Safarita partners. Fife was also involved in the founding of No More Deaths in 2004. It will staff remote support camps for several weeks at a time.

“We couldn’t stop what we were doing because people’s lives were at stake,” Fife said.

Many volunteers in the group are retirees, like Gail Kocourek.

Every week, two-son Samaritan volunteers collect clothing and food donations to Casa de la Esperanza, a new daytime immigration help center just south of the border of the town of Sasabe, Mexico. They usually sleep in hotels and guesthouses in town.

“I don’t think anyone deserves to die just because they tried to improve their family life,” said Kokolek.

Of the 13 Salvadorians who survived when 13 died in the scorching sun near the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in 1980, Drarodriguez often travels there. Then at the age of 19, she stayed in Tucson and eventually became an American citizen.

“And 41 years later, people are still dead in the desert,” said Salvavision, a non-profit organization that supports Arizona immigrants and encourages Central Americans not to travel dangerously. “The only difference now is that the civil war is gone, but the aftermath of the war, including gangsters, crime and corruption, still remains.”

According to 19-year-old Vicente Lopez from Guatemala, who was staying elsewhere in the town, widespread poverty is another reason to leave home. “That’s because we are very poor.”

Immigration-restricting groups, such as the Washington-based think tank Center for Immigration Studies, argue that border walls and other barriers are a better way to control mortality by keeping immigrants out. doing.

“There is no doubt about the goodwill of these groups. It is not desirable for people to die in the desert,” said Andrew Arthur, a former immigration judge and resident researcher at the center. “But I don’t want to make magnets for people who want water.”

Meanwhile, border guards pointed out in a recent statement about the 20th anniversary of the deaths of 14 people in the Devil’s Highway area southeast of Yuma: thousands of dollars aid to go to the United States. Did. “

Human Borders, which maps the discovery of human bodies in collaboration with Pima County Chief Coroner Dr. Greg Hess, recorded 227 deaths in 2020, including Maricopa County. Hess’ office has received the bodies of 79 apparent border-crossers as of late May this year, and activists say 2021 will not be a particularly dangerous year for large numbers of people to travel. I’m worried.

Of the 178,622 cases across the four state borders, the Tucson area alone reported 20,246 such encounters, an increase of 674% compared to the same month last year, according to a report from the Customs and Border Protection. Rescue of migrants found in dangerous areas is also increasing.

Douglas Ruopp, Chairman of Humane Borders, said: “No matter what we do, people continue to die.”

But dangers like Josue Hernandez Luis, a tour guide for the Mexican resort Huatulco, who was fired during a coronavirus pandemic and set out on an adventure north to feed his wife and two children, discouraged people. After staying at a guest house in Sasabe, I made a plan to travel to the desert with a friend without a guide.

“I’m going to use my phone,” said Hernandez Lewis. “With GPS.”

In Tucson, activists regularly meet at shrines to pray for migrants who did not survive the journey.

The local cumbia band Vox Urbana pays homage to writing and recording songs about immigrants, including a song about a transgender asylum seeker named Carolina.

“We are a community of immigrants,” said guitarist and vocalist Kike Castellanos. “And it’s important to tell the story of our community.”


The Associated Press’s religious coverage is supported by Lilly Endowment through The Conversation US. AP is solely responsible for this content.

Spirituality Underpins US Border Immigration – WJET / WFXP /

Source link Spirituality Underpins US Border Immigration – WJET / WFXP /

Related Articles

Back to top button