Annunciation House Responds to the Deaths of 39 Migrants in Ciudad Juárez. (Para leer en español, haga click aquí.)
Annunciation House grieves the loss of the 39 people who died at an immigration detention center in our neighboring city of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, less than a mile from where we live and serve. We lament this needless loss of life, and in the strongest terms possible, demand: enough. People in migration cannot continue to die because of cruel and violent policies that solve nothing.
The 39 people who died at the detention center on the evening of March 27 came from throughout the Americas: many from Guatemala, and also Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, Colombia, and Ecuador. Each person was beloved by their family and community; each had dreams, fears, histories, and hope. All of these were extinguished too soon by a system that continually devalues human life and diminishes the inherent dignity of every person.
Border policy has resulted in the loss of life for far too long, an abhorrent reality that has been steadily increasing in recent years. The 39 deaths at the detention center are a direct result of current policies in which asylum seekers are turned away or expelled by the United States and sent back to danger or death instead of being offered a safe haven. People sent back to Juárez and other border cities encounter overcrowded, unsafe conditions at best—and, more often, continued exposure to danger, exploitation, and violence. In both the U.S. and Mexico, immigrants and refugees are often treated as dangers to communities, and are then detained and denied freedom simply for seeking safety and a better life.
In the wake of this tragedy, words and lamentations alone are hollow. We must change the harsh policies that created the conditions for this disaster to occur, and reframe human migration in terms that center human life and uplift each person’s ability to flourish. The guards at the Juárez detention center literally turned their backs as people screamed for safety. As individuals and as a society, we must not turn our backs on anyone else.