St. Paul's UCC attends NM Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice

by Trish Herron, St. Paul's UCC

Saturday the 25th of August, St. Paul’s was represented by four people interested in finding out how justice for immigrants in New Mexico was faring.

Rev. Jocelyn Emerson, Ray and Martha Phillips, and I were treated to an amazing buffet at the Andaluz Hotel downtown, but the heart of the excursion was to listen how the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice had aided immigrant families in our midst.

The most heartfelt presentation was from Hilaria (meaning “Cheerful”) who told how her family was devastated when her husband was taken by ICE from her and her two children for 55 days. When he was finally released, the children could not recognize him because he had lost so much weight. She told of her eldest daughter wanting to commit suicide, despairing in the promise of “America” because of how her father was treated. Both of her daughters are now receiving counseling because of this trauma. Her eldest graduated high school last year, and the family is so proud.

My reaction when I heard the children needed care after their ordeal of 55 days was what on earth was happening to the more than 500 children yet to be reunited with their parents? How deeply do the scars run? What has our nation done? If Americans truly lose interest in our history and always move on to the next “shiny thing,” then our nation will surely be judged harshly as Matthew has stated. If, however, good people stand up and witness these atrocities and demand that news stays focused for these sins, then there is hope.