Photo provided by: 
Mike Scanlan

Learning and Serving on the Front Lines of Immigration in the U.S.

Our day started this morning at 9:15.  We cleaned this huge gathering room.  After packing up the 40+ cots and them stashing them away we sorted through a great amount of toys, vacuumed the rug to get ready for the next group of travelers.    We got instructions on how the intake process works.

At one 1:30 an ICE van pulled up to the shelter and dropped off 4 families with a total of 9 people.  Usually the processing center feeds them lunch but when they arrived they had not eaten.  The group that came were a father and son from Brazil who were going to Boston, a young mother and a two year old and a seven year old from Guatemala going to Florida, a mother and her 16 year old son from Guatemala going to Nebraska, and a father and his 10 year old daughter going to North Carolina.  After a short interview one of the workers tried to call their US families waiting for them.  We then helped them find a new change of clothes, show them their rooms and help them find the showers.

Every Monday a local church brings a delicious meal of beans, rice and shredded beef.   One of the men that brought the food sat down at our table and talked about why he does this work.  He told us that 5 years ago he was an engineer and very successful owner of a construction company when he had a heart attack.   He said he was lying there close to death when he decided his life had to change.   He decided he needed to give back because his life had been so good so he now makes and serves dinner every Monday night at the shelter.

The things we found out about the families are:  The Brazilian man decided he wanted to go back to Brazil.  He had left two daughters behind.  For him to do that he would not ever be able to get back into the US again, plus he would need to go to a detention center until a whole planeload of detainees needed to go back to Brazil.  The mother with her 16 year old son was pregnant with him the last time she saw her husband.  The 10 year old little girl was complaining of her legs hurting and the dad just said that yesterday they had spent the entire day running.  


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