At about 8:40 a.m. on February 22, 2003, Juan Patricio Peraza Quijada, a guest at Annunciation House, was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent. He was 19 years old. We will commemorate his life and death with a procession and mass at Annunciation House this coming Wednesday, February 22.
Annunciation House is currently receiving over 1000 migrants each week, most of them Central American migrants who have just been processed and released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. Without the hospitality centers we and other community organizations have set up, they would be released to the streets. At our centers, they find a place to stay, clean changes of clothes, meals and showers, and assistance in contacting family and planning to travel onward.
We are urgently seeking short term volunteers, whether local or from out of town (housing provided), who can commit to helping at one of our centers of hospitality for a period of time.
Interested parties should contact our director, Ruben Garcia.
One week after the election that put an anti-immigrant demagogue into power, we at Annunciation House are searching for ways to move from grief and outrage toward action–or, perhaps more accurately, to channel our outrage into action. For us, the action is concrete, and we return to it daily: instead of a wall along our southern border, we are building centers of welcome and hospitality for the many, many migrants and refugees that continue to arrive in El Paso.
Many of them are Central Americans and Mexicans fleeing violence and extortion in their home countries, often after having lost loved ones at the hands of gangs. Others are here to work, to support their families–acting as the silent engines that power so many of our country’s industries, from agriculture to construction to home health care. They are not terrorists. (Foreign terrorists usually have the resources to get a visa.) They are not rapists or criminals. (Immigrants commit fewer crimes than US citizens.) Here they must exist in the shadows, doing dirty and difficult work, facing discrimination, alienation, and the constant fear of deportation, which in many cases breaks up families. Yet they have come to the US, at great risk, great expense, and with great effort, in most cases because the conditions they are leaving are worse and more desperate than the ones they will encounter here.
In 2014, a so-called “surge” of Central American migrants arriving at our southern border prompted a frenzy of media attention. That has largely subsided today, yet crowds of people continue to arrive, many of them families with children. Annunciation House is still receiving hundreds of people each week, most of them coming straight from the detention centers where they have been “processed” and released. Most come with little but the clothes on their backs–not even shoelaces, which are confiscated in detention.
Are you feeling hopeless after the election? Do you want to do something, but you don’t know what? If you believe in a more just immigration system, if you want to show your support for immigrants and refugees, consider getting involved with the work of Annunciation House and other similar organizations that directly serve migrants–both through hospitality and advocacy.
How? Here are some ideas:
- VOLUNTEER. If you have some Spanish ability, and especially if you have any volunteer experience and/or live in the El Paso area, consider volunteering: we can use full-time volunteers who are willing to come for a week or more, or local volunteers who can donate a few hours a week on an ongoing basis.
- DONATE. We are in need of new (please, only new) underwear for all ages and genders; shoelaces; travel-sized toiletries (shampoo, soap, etc); and quart and gallon-sized Ziploc bags. Financial donations are also much appreciated (info here).
- SPREAD THE WORD. Not just about our work and our needs–though we fully appreciate that–but about the humanity of immigrants, documented or not; the injustice of our current immigration system; and about our opposition to the racist, anti-immigrant climate that has swept up so many in our nation.
The political campaigns are over. The campaign for justice continues. To our country’s immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ folks, Muslims, and all who fear what this election’s results mean for their own safety and well-being: #EstamosConUstedes.
Today Annunciation House and companions are gathering at the Mexican consulate in El Paso to protest the violence and threats of violence that have been perpetrated on two colleagues of Padre Alejandro Solalinde, our 2015 Voice of the Voiceless Honoree.
Read the press release:
El Paso, Texas, 06 de Junio de 2016
Consulado General de México
Enrique Peña Nieto
Presidente de México
En México, el paso de las y los migrantes, provenientes de Centroamérica se ha convertido en la “Ruta de la muerte”. En los últimos 10 años, se han registrado cientos de agresiones violentas: robo a mano armada, secuestros, extorsiones, abusos físicos, sexuales y homicidios calificados, en contra de las personas que vienen huyendo de la situación de violencia y pobreza que hay en sus países de origen, por parte de mafias que controlan el paso de las rutas migratorias y muy frecuentemente están involucrados las corporaciones de seguridad pública estatal y federal, que en su fundamento principal, deberían de garantizar el libre tránsito, de acuerdo a Convenios Internacionales que México ha firmado para proteger el paso de las y los migrantes.
Éstos actos, violentos y sistemáticos, han llegado a las y los defensores de Derechos humanos y migrantes. En las últimas semanas se denunciaron dos amenazas con armas de fuego en contra de defensores de derechos de las personas migrantes: en Oaxaca, El Albergue para Migrantes “Hermanos en el Camino” y en Querétaro, la Estancia del Migrante González y Martínez.
El 23 de mayo fue agredido Alberto Donis y Leyssa Palomino, una voluntaria del Albergue para migrantes Hermanos en el Camino, dirigido por el Padre Alejandro Solalinde.
“Es importante mencionar que debido a que Alberto ha sido objeto de amenazas en otros momentos, cuenta ya con medidas cautelares decretadas tanto por la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH), así como por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), situación que nos alarma aún más, sobre todo porque en los últimos días se han registrado una serie de amenazas dirigidas al padre Solalinde, con quien Alberto colabora y tememos que este evento tengan relación con las mismas y que ni el Estado de Oaxaca, ni la CNDH, estén dando un seguimiento adecuado a la seguridad de ambos”
Nosotras y nosotros, ciudadanos y organizaciones sociales, radicados en la frontera de El Paso, Texas y Ciudad Juárez, hacemos un llamado al Gobierno de México, para que realice, por medio de las instancias correspondientes, una investigación ética, objetiva y exhaustiva de los hechos ocurridos en contra de los integrantes del Albergue Hermanos en el Camino. Así como hacemos un llamado urgente para que cese de inmediato las agresiones contra las y los migrantes y se lleven a cabo investigaciones serias de las demandas penales interpuestas por los agredidos.
Por lo anterior:
-Exigimos el cumplimiento de acuerdos internacionales de protección a las y los migrantes en tránsito, firmados por México.
-Exigimos la protección de las y los defensores de los derechos de l@s migrantes.
For 38 years, the triangular red-brick building of Annunciation House has been both a symbol and a center for hospitality to the migrant and the refugee. Now over a hundred years old, the building is in desperate need of repairs: new mortar, a renovated kitchen, new duct work, reroofing, improved compliance with modern building standards, and more.
This May, for the first time in its history, Annunciation House is launching a capital campaign to raise the $1 million dollars that our contractor estimates we need to keep the building habitable for our guests. We ask for your support, whether through financial contributions, volunteering your time, or helping us spread the word.
View our crowdfunding page here to make a one-time contribution. This initial effort to raise $50,000 will provide seed money for us to seek larger grants from foundations.
Pope Francis gave this homily at the Mass celebrated on the Juarez-El Paso border this past week, February 17. Let us join him in his plea for those involved in the “human tragedy” of forced migration: “No more death! No more exploitation!”
Background: Since the summer of 2014, when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began detaining large numbers of Central American migrants along our southern border and releasing them in El Paso, Annunciation House has been providing temporary hospitality and travel assistance in a new site called Nazareth House. Each week, we receive anywhere from dozens to hundreds of newly released migrants, most of whom have family elsewhere in the United States and simply need a few days to rest, recover, and make travel plans.
The house: Once they arrive at Nazareth House, guests are given the opportunity to shower, eat, and pick out clean clothes from our donation room. We assist them with contacting friends or family elsewhere in the U.S. and making travel plans (they all have permission to travel within the United States). Then we take them to the airport or bus station at the appointed time and provide them with food and supplies for their journey. Most guests stay 1-3 days before traveling on.
The need for volunteers: We’re are in great need of responsible, committed, organized and trustworthy people who can commit to at least a week of service. We will gladly accept former volunteers, former BAE participants, people who have previous experience with organizations such as ours, and men and women from religious communities. Spanish proficiency is useful, but not a requirement; we have many areas of responsibility that don’t depend on speaking Spanish. Volunteers may help with the following tasks:
- travel arrangements
- local transportation
- food and meals
- clothing bank
- care package assembly
- stocking supplies
- medical issues
- legal issues
- set-up and clean-up
Interested in volunteering? Please contact the volunteer coordinator.
Juan Patricio Peraza Quijada, a 19-year-old guest at Annunciation House, was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent while taking out the trash in February 2003. Since then, there have been far too many tragedies like this, where young men of color have been targeted by law enforcement for petty crimes, or no crime at all, resulting in death for the young men and few consequences for the people that killed them.
Annunciation House director Ruben Garcia will engage in conversation with two other advocates to speak about the intersection of race, authority and violence largely as it relates to the unforgivable deaths of these human beings. Please join us: