The Immigration Ministry of St. Michael and All Angels
works across the entire community.
St Michael's shares resources and volunteers between the Landing, Casa San Miguel, and Las Familias to feed, clothe and provide services to our immigrant neighbors. Our many partners include RoadRunner Food Bank, Desert Harvest, ABQ FaithWorks, VIDA (Correspondence with migrants in detention), ABQ Community Safety Department, Catholic Charities, Las Cumbres, Annunciation House, El Paso and local school Douglas MacArthur Elementary School. Over 50 SMAA volunteers serve these vital Ministries.
Courage, Joy, Love
Las Familias Solidarity’s May 10th Journey to the Border
“Courage is a large heart. Fear restricts the heart.” Matthew Fox
Our Las Familias Solidarity team immediately felt the difference as we arrived in El Paso the day before the controversial Title 42 Immigration policy ended. A gate on the parking lot of the first shelter was closed for security. A second shelter asked us to double check that their door was locked. Our Annunciation House(AH) contacts had warned us not to visit the Sacred Heart shelter, where over 1,000 asylum seekers were camped outside. Police had barricaded the streets, fearing a repeat of the Brownsville, TX. violence that killed 8 migrants when a car crashed into them. “We are safe inside with our (asylum seeker) guests, its the few American crazies out there” a shelter volunteer explained. The Annunciation House volunteers inspire us with their fearless courage.
Our team met 40 asylum seeking family members at an AH shelter as they disembarked a bus from Customs & Border Protection. Small children clung to the legs of their mothers. The families had only the clothes on their backs and a baggie containing their US documents. Everything else had been confiscated by US authorities, even their shoelaces. We quickly volunteered to help the lone volunteer register the asylum seeking families from Columbia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Brazil and Mexico. One asylum seeking mother endured the dangerous journey from Columbia with 12 year old twins and a three year old. She planned to meet her husband, who lived in New York. A young Peruvian family trekked over 3,000 miles with a 2, 4 and 7 year old. What courage their journeys took!
“In Joy we face the storm and defy it.”Amelia Barr
The Casa Papa Francisco shelter has longer term guests, asylum seeking women and children with more complicated needs. A young widow with a newborn baby who is hospitalized with breathing issues. A mom whose child has water on their lungs. Women who need to work at a local church to earn money for a transportation ticket to meet their sponsors. In the midst of so much hardship and suffering, there are outbursts of joy. It was shelter manager Carol’s birthday, so some of the women were up since dawn, cooking a special celebration posole stew for lunch. Children played with balloons that fell from the walls. We joined the festivities, as the women, one by one, sang Carol a special song as their gift to her. It was a joyous, heart filling experience that we will never forget.
“Your task is not to seek love, but to seek & find all the barriers that have built against it.” Rumi
Barriers on the El Paso/Juarez border keep expanding. Mounds of US razor wire, several yards tall and wide. Increased numbers of US Federal, State, National Guard and the newly formed Texas Tactical Border Force armed military. An overcrowded Immigration Central Processing Center holding over 4,000 asylum seekers for 10 days, instead of the previous 4 days. Increased crime in Juarez as thousands of asylum seekers wait for weeks, months to secure an US Immigration appointment using the required US government’s “CBP One” app. New “Asylum Ban” US Immigration policies. What can one person do to bring love and compassion in the midst of this suffering?
How to Help
Due to limited space in our SUV’s and the shelters, please understand that we can only accept these items that the Annunciation House shelters have requested. Please deliver all items by Sunday, June 4th. Men’s boxers & Women’s briefs are especially needed. No matter how many we bring, the shelters always run out!
Our next trip to the Annunciation House Shelters on the Border is Wednesday, June 7th. Annunciation House shelters are run totally on donations and volunteers. Las Familias Solidarity is also. 100% of each donation that we receive goes directly to critically needed supplies for asylum seeking families. Here’s how you can send some care to the 450 asylum seekers that are processed and released EVERY DAY to the Annunciation House Network.
Las Familias Solidarity Team
Thank you for helping us to provide support and compassion to the asylum seeking families!
The Las Familias Solidarity Team
Liz, Mike, Sharon, Denise, Linda
Liz & Mike Hanna, Sharon Palma, Denise Ulibarri Clauss, Linda McCleary
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Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos courtesy of Liz Hanna