Our communities have now spent a full year living through the COVID-19 pandemic that has continued its devastating and unequal impact throughout the world. Some of the most vulnerable and disproportionately affected by the pandemic are (im)migrants, asylum seekers, and border communities.
Once again this year, registration fees of the Alternative Migrant Trail Walk’s will go to support four projects doing vital work in these dire times to fight for justice and support (im)migrants. These projects resist inhumane and deadly enforcement measures at the US-Mexico border and work to prevent the immigrant detention and deportation policies that are terrorizing our communities and putting migrant lives at risk. You will learn more about each of these organizations during our week together. Registration is on a sliding scale, and so we ask you to give what you can and give generously. Even if you cannot participate in the week’s online programming or only join intermittently in the activities, we invite you to join our important effort to donate and help raise funds to support these border organizations and efforts.
Proceeds from the Alternative Migrant Trail will go to support the organizations listed below. If you would like to make a donation, please click HERE.
We are proud to introduce you to the four organizations that we wish to amplify and support this year:
Centro de Recursos para Migrantes
CRM has served deported and repatriated migrant men and women in Agua Prieta for the past 15 years. Over these 15 years, we have welcomed and cared for over 100,000 vulnerable and heroic travelers, whose only dream is to find a well-paying job that allows them to provide a full and happy life for their family.
For the past 6 months, CRM has been welcoming at least 100 migrant women and men each day, offering tamales and sandwiches, hot coffee, protein bars and fruit, needed clothing, simple medical care and a welcoming shelter. We also assist with paying for bus tickets for any migrant who chooses to return to their country of origin.
Indigenous Languages Office:
The Indigenous Language Office (ILO) began in 2018 at Casa Alitas Shelter housed in the Benedictine Monastery in Tucson, Arizona. Since 2014, the primary language of migrant guests, 28 Indigenous languages (and dozens of other languages) have been registered at intake. ILO recruits interpreters from among our temporary guests and from individuals outside the shelter to interpret basic functions in the shelter.
In addition to the Catholic Communities Service of Southern Arizona’s paid language line interpretation service, we provide interpretation in 20 Indigenous Languages, eleven Indo-European Languages, two African and two Asian Languages. Other projects include orientation for legal organizations providing legal defense to unaccompanied minors, national and international Indigenous rights advocacy, socio-linguistic consultation to medical clinics, units of government and media, and an anatomy manual in fifteen languages.
Casa de la Esperanza Community and Migrant Center
In September of 2020, Sister Judy Bourg, Dora Rodriguez and Gail Kocourek realized that there was a humanitarian crisis going on in Sásabe, Sonora, México. After months of working with migrants who were being released to or ending up in the area, they decided to open a resource center.
Casa de la Esperanza is run and operated by the people of Sásabe with the support of Salavision, Tucson Samaritans and other humanitarian aid groups. The center will provide clothing, meals and a shower to migrants in need. Medical clinics will also be available. Organizers hope for the center to grow and eventually provide craft classes for children and beginning English classes that will be open to all in the community. A community garden is also being planned, and the center will grow and change with the needs of the migrants and community.
Justice for All Initiative Campaign
Pima County residents facing removal or deportation have a Constitutional right to an attorney. But if they cannot afford one, no attorney is provided. Fighting the Federal government alone, their fundamental rights can be violated. This causes injustices-unwarranted family separations, orphaned children, employers without employees, fear of law enforcement, loss of taxpaying residents, and poverty.
The VERA Institute of Justice found that only 3% of those appearing alone will stop their deportation; of those who appear with a lawyer, 62% win their case. In 2019, of the 22,677 of our neighbors who were processed through Tucson Immigration Court, only 4,618 were able to hire a lawyer.
- 18,059 people stood alone
- 541 were able to win their case without representation
- 17,518 families were torn apart
Of the 17,518 families, it is estimated that 10,861 would not have been torn apart if they were represented by a lawyer.
This initiative provides legal representation to indigent residents in removal and deportation proceedings, using sliding scale fees, grant funding, and funds available to the County, to protect due process and fundamental rights, fight poverty, and protect the health, safety, and welfare of our residents. It strives for universal representation, to ensure that all indigent Pima County residents have a fair opportunity to stop their deportation, to keep their families together, and to have their story heard.