(Tucson, AZ) — Over the past week, Rep. Kirkpatrick and her staff traveled to the border to meet with migrant advocates, migrants, small business owners, and local government officials.
On Thursday, the group visited sister cities Douglas, Arizona and Agua Prieta, Sonora, where they met with local business owners to discuss how they have fared the pandemic, as well as with migrants and migrant advocates involved with Frontera de Cristo, a Presbyterian border ministry that works on both sides of the border to pursue justice in the immigration process.
On Wednesday this week, the group traveled to Nogales, Sonora, where they toured Kino Border Initiative’s new facility and met directly with six migrants who told their stories.
“It was so meaningful to me to travel to the border and get the perspectives of those on the ground,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “Hearing the accounts of migrants waiting to seek asylum and witnessing the unparalleled efforts of groups like Frontera de Cristo and Kino Border Initiative reignites the urgency needed to fix our broken system. I will be taking these experiences with me back to Washington and sharing them with my colleagues, and I am looking forward to making serious headway on this issue together with the Biden Administration.”
“We are grateful to Congresswoman Kirkpatrick for listening intently to Douglas community leaders from the health, faith, environmental, arts, business and governmental sectors talking about the importance of cross border collaboration,” said Mark Adams, Coordinator of Frontera de Cristo. “We also appreciated herthen walking across the border to listen to a family who has been pursued by organized crime and waiting to apply for asylum for over a year. We are thankful that she came to our community not to use it as a political prop, but rather to gain a greater understanding of who we are and what our needs are.”
“It was encouraging and heartening to welcome Congresswoman Kirkpatrick’s delegation and see that they took the time to hear directly from migrants about their experiences, a step which neither DHS nor many Congressional offices have taken,” said Joanna Williams, Executive Director of the Kino Border Initiative. “What they saw and heard yesterday represented the reality here: migrants expelled under Title 42 in the middle of the night who suffered physical abuse at the hands of Border Patrol agents, migrants who have waited over a year for a response to their asylum request, and migrants who have suffered threats and assault at the hands of organized crime in Nogales, Mexico. Elena, a mother from Guerrero who shared with the delegation, said it best: ‘I know that asylum is a right we have. I don’t know why [US Government officials] are denying us access to that right.’”
“As a representative of a border district, I have an obligation to be vocal about this issue, and I will keep sharing the stories of those who have left everything they know behind to seek asylum in our country. I will be doing everything in my power to ensure that we make strides towards a more humane and more just immigration system,” added Rep. Kirkpatrick.