Sr. Yolanda Flores, MSC & Sr. Sonnia Osorio, MSC Visit to Matamoros, Mexico
Sr. Yolanda Flores and Sr. Sonnia Osorio made a second visit to the Mexico Border the end of February to better understand the reality and to see how we can collaborate with the ministry to the migrants that is taking place already. They were welcomed by Fr. Francisco Gallardo, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, who also runs “Casa del Migrante y del Indigente”. While there they visited Dignity Village (the migrant camp) in Matamoros, Mexico. Fr. Francisco also arranged a visit with the Bishop who gave them a warm welcome. The following is a reflection on the sisters visit to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
The last week of February 2020, Sr. Sonnia and I, under request of Sr. Diane Olmstead, went to Matamoros. Our agenda was to find out ways, in which we could as Cabrini Sisters, help the people at the border. We spent five days meeting all kinds of people in the tents area – now called “Dignity Village” – and in particular those who are directly involved on the Mexican side.
At the Matamoros town, along the Rio Bravo border and facing United States are more than 2,500 people; about 850 are children waiting to be processed for asylum. We met with local leaders of Matamoros including the parish priest and the bishop as well as some members of the collective of 14 NGO’s who organize the Village.
All of them at different moments expressed their concern about the situation.
For the people from Matamoros and the authorities, the immigrants represent a big challenge regarding public spaces used by the migrants and the services required.
We heard that many families have been there for more than five months in precarious and unhealthy situations – even though the areas are clean. Their basic needs are met thanks to the help of different organizations but the legal aspect is the crucial one. They are in need of legal assistance and guidance.
In order to go before the judge when their time comes, they need to present a particular form written in English and to have a lawyer. A lot of the adults do not know how to read or write in their own language and even fewer have the money to hire a lawyer. Making the situation worse, the lawyer needs to be accredited before he/she can stand before the American judge.
I cannot omit that the Bishop and priest from Matamoros welcomed us and hope to have a Cabrinian presence in town.
Sr. Yolanda, MSC