“Mother of Exiles. From her beacons-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command …Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Those are some beautiful words on the United States of America’s national icon, The Stature Of Liberty.
The way the U.S.A. has become, I imagine our Lady Liberty crying with shame. The U.S. has made a lier of her.
In a couple of weeks, we will be volunteering in Matamoros Mexico, a troubled border city in North Eastern Mexico, just steps away from Brownsville Texas. In Matamoros, thousands of migrants are stuck as they wait for a legal opportunity to reach what they think is safety and “the golden door” to the United States.
If you’re from the U.S., immigrants and migrants can be a controversial issue. We know. We don’t care. We are not trying to convince anybody to think differently than us. If the words of Lady Liberty can’t persuade you, then who are we to try?
But one thing should not be controversial. No human should live with fear, hunger, thirst, and sickness only a stones throw from The United States.
Because of the new and illegal decision by the U.S. President to implement “MPP”, better known as “Remain in Mexico” policy, thousands of people are literally endangered.
In Matamoros, right now, only a few feet from the U.S. border, hundreds of families, single mothers, and unaccompanied children are sleeping on the ground, with no food or water, no bathrooms, no bathing facilities, with the constant fear of being kidnapped, extorted, sexually assaulted, and where some have even died while waiting. Matamoros, which is in the state of Tamaulipas, is a dangerous place. The U.S. government gives it a constant level 4, the highest advisory for U.S. citizens to “do not go”, and gives it the same danger level as Afghanistan, North Korea, or Syria.
We are going. If only for a short time, and we know we can’t fix or help everybody, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help some. We are a small nonprofit called a Ripple. We are going to provide healthcare and water and sanitation in collaboration with another small NGO that has just started and will continue these efforts. The migrants living in Matamoros have almost zero help. No official food program. No U.N. giving them safety or even water. The medical needs are great. There is reportedly widespread malnutrition and dehydration. There is also diarrhea, skin infections, and untreated chronic conditions. Without any options, they wash themselves, drink, and defalcate in the Rio Grand, the river that separates them from a new life. The water, sanitation, and hygiene needs are massive too.
Imagine for a second. You’re a family from Guatemala or Honduras, where 60% and 65% of people respectively live below the poverty line, the governmental security is weak, there’re no jobs, and you need a real future for your children. What would you do? Or you’re a young man from El Salvador, the cities are lawless and the violent gangs have already killed your brother, and unless you join them, you’re next. So you have the audacious thought of wanting to live, and decide to leave your family and loved ones, walk thousands of miles through Central America and Mexico, to finally get to the border of the USA.
If you’re trying to find asylum through Brownsville Texas and are in Matamoros Mexico, it’s most likely worse than where you escaped from.
The U.S. State Department crudely states “There is serious risk from crime in Matamoros, Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault, is common. Gang activity, including gun battles and blockades, is widespread. Armed criminal groups target public and private passenger buses, as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers hostage and demanding ransom payments.”
Now, these Mexican gangs have plenty of desperate, moneyless, homeless, alone, and stuck individuals to prey on, only a few feet away from the U.S.
Like I said at the beginning, we know that migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in the US is a sensitive issue. But families, single mothers, and unaccompanied minors living without basic human rights such as health care or safe water right on the steps of the United States should not be controversial.
We can’t fix everything. If there’s anybody reading this, you can’t help everybody. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try or can’t help some.
If you would like to help us help these neglected fellow humans, our neighbors from the Americas, please be assured that 100% of any donation will go directly to those in need.
Let’s make Lady Liberty proud again.