The plight of migrant families

by Guest Contributor

Lay Missionary Rosalia Basada is assigned to the US/Mexico border where she works at Casa del Migrante, a shelter for migrants in ciudad Juárez, Mexico. She details her work with migrant families often separated from one another.

female and children st around a table and do activities
Rosalia with children at the migrant's centre

Throughout the years of my stay at the border I have felt overwhelmed and saddened by the increasing reports and tragic stories I heard from the migrants and children that stayed with us. Stories about family separation and the pain and struggle of those experiences. I would often hear that either one of the parents or the children were somewhere in the USA, and some of them did not know their exact location. Some were left behind in their own country or they got separated during the immigration process as they sought asylum in the USA by crossing the border illegally. Some parents were sent to jail while their children were placed in foster care. That kind of news broke my heart and I felt so helpless and hopeless.

In the beginning of 2020, I needed to stay in El Paso, Texas. My ministry involved me visiting migrant families as well as continuing to help with community and family gardens. After the US elections in November 2020, it was easier for me to go back and forth across the border to Ciudad Juarez, and I started helping out again at the migrant shelter. I was put in charge of the children in the Papa Francisco Shelter where I led arts and craft sessions and other exciting activities for children.

My thoughts are not God’s thoughts, I often reflected, whenever I was leaving the border area with a heavy heart, just like families being separated. 3 days before I left the border for my home vacation, one family from the shelter whom I had been accompanying, asked me to go with them to the airport. I went with them, and I waited until they passed through the area where their documents were checked. I felt a huge sense of relief and was happy to see a united family able to stay together. I pray that God will continue to sustain them with the strength they need to keep going and to comfort them as they continue along the journey of life.

family group
Rosalia with a migrant family
female and three children in an embarce
Rosalia with children at the migrant's centre
Rosalia and migrant children show off their arts and crafts,

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