Saturday morning I went to the Nogales Port of Entry with several other humanitarians to do what we could to help the people there who are seeking asylum.
They have been camping on the tile floor of the hallway leading to the turnstile to the U.S. side for four days. The hallway is open to the elements on one side (i.e., no climate control). There is one bathroom for each gender. There are no shower facilities. There was no food except that brought by four Mexican women, who distributed a foil-wrapped quesadilla and a cup of juice to each person in line.
There were about 65 people there today: men, women, adolescents, children, babies. Let me repeat, they had been there four days and four nights.
I was there for a couple of hours from 8 a.m. to a little after 10. Not one person was processed by Immigration. Not one. Why? Because it’s a Saturday? Because it’s a holiday weekend? Because our government wants to make the entire process so punitive that people will give up and go ... where? Back to the horrific conditions they traveled through at least one country to escape?
We had to tell them that we just don’t know what will happen if they ever get seen by INS. That it’s possible, and even likely for the men who are traveling with their children, that they will be separated from their children. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. Talk about their faith in our government that they will be treated justly, and even if they’re not, that it’s better than what they left.
I am disgusted by this country’s attitude toward immigrants. We should all be disgusted and ashamed by policies that criminalize desperation.
Kathleen Stocker, Green Valley