Ending Immigrant Detention

By Tommy Timm

When I was in Mexico recently, cab drivers and other service workers would volunteer that they had been in the U.S., often for several years before returning to Mexico.  They would say they had picked corn in Iowa, harvested tobacco in North Carolina, picked blueberries in Maryland, done landscaping in California, worked as a cook in Illinois, etc.  They had happy memories and were glad to share their experiences with an American.  What struck me was that virtually everyone told stories about either their journey to the U.S. to make a living for their family or that by a son or a daughter.

Their stories reminded me that just a year before in Guatemala, every Mayan person with whom I came in contact asked me PLEASE to work for immigration reform in the U.S. because families, even their country’s economy, depended on the remittances sent back to Guatemala from their relations in the U.S.

I cried when I heard that a young Mayan Quiché whose education Bob and Mary Buck and I have been supporting for many years crossed the Sonoran desert in scorching heat to work in the U.S. to pay his mother’s health bills.  Since there are no avenues for him to gain legal status in our broken immigration system, he is now undocumented and working in construction to pay off these family bills.

If you, like me, want to protest the inhumane detention and forced return of migrants to their countries by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), I invite you to join the first Monday inter-faith vigils at the Geo Immigration Detention Center.  The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) organizes these vigils with local area churches or community groups sponsoring each month.  The next vigil is May 3rd at 6:00 p.m. at the northwest corner of 30th Avenue and Peoria St. in Aurora.  To commemorate one year of resistance to the GEO Detention Center, the Romero Troupe will enact immigration experiences at the center through music, poetry and prayer.

If you have questions or want further information, please contact Jennifer Piper, Interfaith Organizing Director for Immigrant Rights, at AFSC at 303-623-3464 or [email protected].


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