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The Impact of Bad Deportation Practices on Migrants

Apr 10, 2014
Justice for Immigrants Campaign

The evening “Angela,” a woman in her early thirties, arrived at the shelter for women and children in Nogales, Mexico she was desperate to reunite with her husband “Tino” with whom she had traveled North two weeks before.  The couple traversed the Sonora desert together and crossed the border successfully, but were picked up at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Arizona only days after entering the United States.  The pair was separated upon apprehension and that was the last Angela saw of her husband. Angela described her husband to other migrants and service providers. It was then that she received the awful news that he had been deported three days before her at 3:00AM in the morning and had been murdered.  From what Angela was able to ascertain, Tino was among a group of migrants deported in the early morning hours by DHS.  In hopes of finding a safe place to stay for the remainder of the night, he walked several miles from the deportation site to a shelter for deported migrants. The shelter, like all other service providers in Nogales, Sonora, closes its doors at 9:00PM in light of the precarious and evolving security situation in the town. Tragically, Tino’s body was found mere feet from the doorstep of the shelter when shelter staff opened their doors in the morning. He had been murdered during the night, targeted for unknown reasons by criminals. Angela was inconsolable, terrified and desperate, unable to conceptualize her next steps, let alone a lifetime without Tino.

A Prayer from Pope Francis: 

Quoted from Pope Francis homily on the Island of Lampedusa: "The Globalization of Indifference"

O Lord, in this Liturgy, a Liturgy of repentance, we ask forgiveness for the indifference towards so many brothers and sisters, we ask forgiveness for those who are pleased with themselves, who are closed in on their own well-being in a way that leads to the anesthesia of the heart, we ask you, Father, for forgiveness for those who with their decisions at the global level have created situations that lead to these tragedies. Forgive us, Lord!

O Lord, even today let us hear your questions: "Adam, where are you?" "Where is the blood of your brother?" Amen.

For Reflection:

Pope Francis has said we are all responsible for a globalization of indifference. In broad terms, how does that apply to immigration reform?

We are somewhat-to-very aware of the migrants in our own communities; but, unless we live in the Southwest, we’re probably not mindful of those crossing unto the US on a daily/nightly basis, nor familiar with the private prisons being funded for the purpose of detaining them.  As a first step in remedying such uninformed indifference, how will you learn more?


We encourage you to reflect upon questions like this and to pray for those facing the damaging effects of detention and deportation.  For weekly resources to accompany your parish and community in peparing for the Easter season, visit the Justice for Immigrants Campaign's Lenten tool kit:

*Justice for Immigrants is a campaign by the Catholic Church to educate people about the church's teachings on immigration and to bring about reforms in our current immigration system