The Mission still beckons us on:
The Call to mission is ever ancient and ever new. In our Congregational gathering in 2017 we Columban Sisters came up with a statement:
While aware of the great dignity that is ours, we are saddened by the plight of millions of our sisters and brothers around the world who are without a home or homeland. We commit ourselves to working for the time when they too can enjoy their dignity as children of God.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, we Columban Sisters revitalize our frontier spirit by discerning the signs of the times, embracing risk, living simply, networking with others both within and beyond the Congregation, and sharing our resources.
We Congratulate Srs. Kathleen Mary, Angela and Virgie who have gone to a new frontier mission border in Mexico, on our behalf. They will assess and discern the situation and like the Easter women in the Gospel, will return to tell us how they experienced the Risen Lord among the migrants at the Mexican Border.
The Mexico–United States barrier, also known as the border wall, is a series of vertical barriers along the Mexico-U.S. border intended to reduce illegal immigration to the U.S. from Mexico. The barrier is not a continuous structure, but a series of obstructions classified as “fences” or “walls”.
Between the physical barriers, security is provided by a “virtual fence” of sensors, cameras, and other surveillance equipment used to dispatch U.S. Border Patrol agents to suspected migrant crossings. As of January 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that it had more than 580 miles (930 km) of barriers in place. The total length of the border is 1,954 miles (3,145 km).
Throughout his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump called for the construction of a much larger and fortified border wall, claiming that if elected, he would “build the wall and make Mexico pay for it”. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said his country would not pay for the wall.
Pueblo Sin Fronteras has for several years guided caravans through Mexico, seeking to protect migrants and to advocate for their rights along a 2,000-mile trail ridden with criminals and corrupt officials who prey on lone travelers through kidnapping, extortion and other forms of assault.
Since April 2018 Trump has lashed out at the caravans of Central Americans winding their way to the United States, while blaming Mexico for failing to stop their movement to the U.S. border.
This spring, tens of thousands of children have come to the border alone seeking asylum.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced recently that over 11,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at the border in May, more than double the number in January.
The figures come as the Trump administration announced it was slashing services, including some English classes, recreational activities and legal aid for unaccompanied minor children in U.S. custody – a move rights groups say may be illegal and fear will create even more “prison-like conditions”.
At least six migrant children have died in US custody, including some unaccompanied minors, in the last year.
Large caravans of people from Central American and as far as Africa arrive at the border and asylum seekers and they pose a great challenge to immigration officials on both sides of the border. These people are kept in limbo while papers are processed and only a few a day. Not knowing the language and penniless, many who have fled their own countries because of war and violence can be detained in immigration detention centres.
It is into this setting that we Columban Sisters are searching to see the situation for ourselves with a view to responding to the needs of the times and our call to mission in these times.