SEACOAST ONLINE: Stand Up for Immigration Reform
October 7th, 2009
To the Editor:
Caralampio is a poor Mexican farming community along the Guatemalan
border where hundreds of families have been torn apart — not by war,
but by economic policies such as NAFTA, which have destroyed their
families' ability to live off of their farms. Unable to find work in
their small farming community in southern Mexico, Candido's three sons
made the agonizing decision to leave their family and began the long
and harrowing journey through the hostile desert to find work in the
Two men in San Caralampio couldn't just
stand by as desperate migrants, looking for a new life, passed through.
Candido and Flavio helped them along the way, taking some into their
homes, sharing food and shelter. In the Mexico of the early 1990s,
Witness for Peace was accompanying Guatemalan refugees who had fled the
horrors of their country's civil war. Families had been torn apart, and
those who made it to Mexico were weary from their journey and
heartbroken by their loss.
"When my first son
left for the U.S., I couldn't even watch," relates the elderly Candido
as his eyes well up with tears. "That's how deeply it hurt."
voice shakes as he explains that in recent years as many as 500 young
people from his small community have left. Six died, either on the way
to the USA or while working here as migrant laborers.
as Witness for Peace accompanied refugees fleeing from war, we now
stand with families torn apart by unjust trade policies. Our staff in
Mexico and in the USA has worked with Flavio, Candido, and thousands of
other farmers, workers, and community leaders across Mexico, as well as
with immigrants in the USA, to stand up for truly comprehensive
immigration reform — policies that not only recognize the rights of
immigrants currently in the USA but also change our policies that break
families apart in Mexico and across the hemisphere.
are tough times, and the financial crisis is taking a toll on us all.
But we at Witness for Peace cannot let up in our work to support
families in San Caralampio and millions like them. Flavio and Candido
have turned to us because they have nowhere else to go.
need your support today! NAFTA has carved a path of destruction through
farming communities across Mexico, driving millions of young adults to
make the hardest decision of their lives: to leave their young children
and elderly parents behind in order to put food on the table.
most of our neighbors in the USA still don't understand that the
immigrants doing honest work across our country have come seeking not a
fortune, but survival.
But with your support
Witness for Peace can change these mistaken and often callous
perceptions about our immigrant neighbors in the USA. This summer we
released an exclusive video that does just that. The film shows you the
real roots of migration in southern Mexico through the eyes of a group
from North Carolina. I urge you to take a few minutes to watch it at
www.witnessforpeace.org, or to contact me for a booking.