Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How you can help homeless migrants...

Russ from What Are You Looking At? got me thinking when he left a comment on my last post about the three undocumented immigrants who recently entered the U.S.
He said: "don't know what to say other than I will pray for them....."

There is not a thing wrong with prayer. I learned, though, that Russ went on to post a photo of crossers [derogatorily known as "wetbacks"] on his blog and linked his post to the story of my three crossers. So he did prayed and acted.

It is empowering to act. We need to take action to avoid slumping into passivity. I thought I'd start a little list of things you can do to assist the homeless migrants. You don't have to move to the Border to do any of them.

1) Support Annunciation House. This house of refuge is a safe place for migrants to stop on the journey, to rest and refuel themselves. This place functions completely on small donations from persons of good will. I know for a fact that there wasn't any (instant) coffee for the migrants' breakfast [or any meal] earlier this week. If they don't receive it, they don't have it to give. Your gift to Annunciation House will be well used.
Annunciation House
1003 East San Antonio Ave,
El Paso, Texas 79901-2620

2) Support immigration reform. This subject is such a hot potato politically that it was completely absent in the last presidential campaign. Not one question was raised about immigration at any of the debates! Our elected leaders need to know that we demand this broken system be fixed--the sooner the better.

3) Seek out undocumented workers in your community. They are everywhere. Often church leaders are in touch with the migrant communities. Ask how you can best help them. My octogenarian mother-in-law tutors English as a second language to migrants in her town.

4) Send a donation to Postville, IA where undocumented workers are caught in the Catch 22 of being unable to work, unable to return to their countries, yet unable to leave Postville. The churches shouldered the responsibility of maintaining their lives. Read this story if you're willing to let your heart be broken.

Make your check out to St. Bridget’s Ministry, write in the memo “Postville Relief Fund” and mail to:
St. Bridget's Hispanic Ministry
ATTN: Postville Relief Fund
P.O Box 369
Postville, IA 52162

You can also go online to donate at:

When the web page opens up, on the right hand bottom, click:
1-Select :Specific Disaster,
2-Then Designate a specific disaster: Postville Disaster

5) Last year a local family decided to forgo giving each other personal Christmas presents and instead sponsored a migrant family for Christmas. Something to think about for next year.

6) Print up the photo from Russ's blog and post it on your dresser or your bathroom mirror. It will keep the plight of the migrants in your field of vision each day.

7) Read the fascinating and Pulitzer-prize winning Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario, likely it's at your public library. You won't have a problem reading it; the hard part is putting it down. Raising our awareness of this reality is a way to change our hearts. That means a better world for migrants.

8) Support the work of the Scalabrini order of priests. See this story about their shelter in Tijuana. Mr. B.E. and I stayed there overnight some years back so we could learn more about the plight of the migrant. One migrant we met there modeled gratitude through adversity and wowed us: one of the noblest people I've ever met.

Feel free to add other ideas in the comment section. Helping the migrants also helps us:
  • take control of a rotten system and turn it around.
  • participate in a human rights movement that supports the Earth Charter.
  • realize that we have it pretty good, no matter how bad we have it.


Libby said...

And I can't help but add that if you're contemplating a career change (to full time volunteerism), #1 would also be happy to hear from you. Hey, gotta plant the seed...

Yolanda said...

Thanks for these links. It gives me something to think about since our area here is heavily migrant agriculture workers.

Liberality said...

You blogging about this topic keeps it in my mind as I am ashamed to admit it would probably be dropped from my radar screen. We must also remember that each act of kindness towards others enriches ourselves.

Border Explorer said...

Libby: ;-) Good one!

Yolanda: Interesting! Here the ag workers have a great org working to support them. We were just there today to volunteer. We love those guys.

Lib: No need to be ashamed. We're always more apt to see what is around us. That's why Mr. B.E. & I keep returning to the Border, so we can be close to poverty and the poor. We don't want to forget.

I love your final statement! You are a treasure.

Carol said...

Thank you for this. Thank you for your witness and your work and for bringing about awareness of what we can do.

In this area, there is an angel named Sister Molly who tirelessly works to help migrant workers. Through her, many people in this area have found a way to contribute to the health and education of the migrant workers that do important jobs from which we all benefit.

Maithri said...

I just love this blog!!!

Thank you for these fantastic ideas...

I need to read that book... and i'll send a donation too....

What an inspiration you are,

Blessings of peace, M

Mariamariacuchita said...

Great ideas for change. There is an Arabic saying, "Trust in Allah, but tie down your camel." We must act to take responsibility to create change!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Excellent suggestions. May I offer another resource site at my own denomination (I am an ordained minister): United Church of Christ.

When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. ~ Leviticus 19:33-34

Randal Graves said...

The best part about these suggestions is that they're doable. So often, letters, calls and faxes to the jokers in DC of both parties on various issues seem like such a waste of time, especially if they're to a wingnut.

Border Explorer said...

Carol, people like Sr. Molly are typically such good-energy people that they are just a joy to be with. Thanks for sharing her with us.

Maithri: Thank you very much. That's high praise indeed coming from someone who writes such a quality blog as yours.

Maria: So good of you to quote the Arabic. Guess they're not as godless as people say. ;0

Nick: Great! The more, the merrier! Thanks for that wonderful quote as well.

Randal: Yeah, sometimes I just want to forget them and do something where I can actually see I've done something. My hat's off to lobbyists for human rights. That takes more perseverance than I have.

Distributorcap said...

maybe now we can really have an honest debate about immigration and realize just how important immigration is to this country and how everyone,no matter the status need to be treated well

i just dont get this country