Despite the media spotlights turning on and off on the drama that continues at the border between Mexico and the U.S., there are many people and organizations, including Focolare, who have not abandoned the migrants there.
In past weeks, news and images of thousands of people marching from Honduras toward the U.S. border have gone around the world. “In this region, the phenomenon of migrants is really common,” explains Sandra Garcia-Farias Herrera of the Focolare community in Northwest Mexico. “Mexicali and Tijuana are border cities, having grown because of the high number of people who have arrived here dreaming to enter the United States. Yet what we’ve witnessed in the past month is unprecedented.
“The people themselves cannot understand how the phenomenon has reached these proportions, or what would have pushed so many families to leave everything behind, even during rough weather, and get on the road.
“Here is where the road ends, and it seems that their dreams shatter. Streets and public places have become camps. There is a lot of confusion, and we’ve witnessed violence, the closure of border crossings into the U.S., the installation of razor wire along the wall, and a huge deployment of police forces protecting the borders, with helicopters and armed vehicles never seen before. It feels like war is about to break out.
“The lack of information as to what pushed these people to move, as well as news from mainstream and social media, has caused the residents of Mexico to have mixed feelings, from hostility, resentment, to even episodes of xenophobia.”
While some young people from Focolare are trying to find a way to enter into the migrant camps – for many the final destination of their Mexican journey – others have reached out to migrants in the street, trying to understand what motivates them, and especially their needs.
One family drove two women with small children as far as Tijuana, so they could avoid the extremely arduous route.
Others who work at an education center suggested students change their cultural attitudes to show migrants solidarity and the sense of fraternity that every person deserves.
“The priority now is to oppose the rampant confusion and the intolerant acts that come from it, even among young people. We need to spread a culture of welcoming.”