Our report this month includes news stories about the rising numbers of asylum seekers who are wrongfully returned to Mexico; the Pope’s continued commitment to migrants and refugees, including the unveiling of a monument in St. Peter’s Square; and the effects that the recently-constructed border wall has on climate change, migrants, and the indigenous communities of Southern Arizona.
- Mexican Asylum-Seekers Wrongly Removed to Mexico: Since mid-August, KBI has worked with 15 Mexican families who were quickly deported to Mexico, despite expressing or wanting to express a fear of return after being apprehended by Border Patrol. In several instances, their claims were disregarded or mocked by Border Patrol agents. Read more about this troubling trend at KBI and along the border here: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/adolfoflores/mexican-immigrants-deported-without-asylum-request-credible
- Pope Unveils Statue of Migrants: In tandem with the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 29, Pope Francis unveiled a monument entitled “Angels Unaware,” which pays homage to migrants and refugees in St. Peter’s Square. The pope wanted the statue in the square “so that all will be reminded of the evangelical challenge of hospitality.” The statue is of 140 migrants from various nationalities and historical periods, and includes the Virgin Mary and Joseph, Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, and indigenous people. Read more here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/29/world/europe/pope-francis-migrants-sculpture.html
- Climate Change in Arizona’s Borderlands: Climate change was a prominent topic in the news during the month of September: youth from around the world led calls for deep and decisive action on climate change; millions of people participated in climate mobilizations; and the United Nations hosted a Climate Action Summit. The effects of climate change are visible in the borderlands in a variety of environmental, political, and social ways. This means increasing danger for migrants who undertake the journey—many of whom are at least partially forced to leave their homelands because of climate change. Additionally, recent wall construction—currently taking place in Organ Pipe National Monument near Ajo—is disrupting the unique desert ecosystem as well as the history and culture of the Tohono O’odham people. Read more here:https://theintercept.com/2019/10/03/climate-change-migration-militarization-arizona/?fbclid=IwAR3ZF37Sb-yFi3Wgh89K8ew4mpo-krmQQW_j94aL6_fLgv1IzZ4DywZ08Kc