Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Saludos de Ambos Nogales, home of the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), where I now live and work. My name is West Cosgrove and I am the new Director of Education. Thanks for visiting our website.
This is the initial entry, our first attempt at blogging. If you know of the work of the Kino Border Initiative, you know that we work directly with migrants, providing humanitarian aid at our soup kitchen, shelter for women children and our clinic in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. As such, we strongly believe that we have a story to tell, the story of the tens of thousands of people who utilize the services of the KBI every year. I invite you to visit our website regularly. We hope to make weekly contributions to the blog.
The KBI was initiated in January, 2009 and since then has done remarkable work serving, accompanying and advocating for persons who have been deported back to Mexico. A great number of these migrants have spent many, many years in the United States. Many leave families behind. It is estimated that there are over 5,100 children now living in the United States, many at government expense, whose parents have been deported.
The Kino Border Initiative makes a difference every day in the lives of hundreds of persons who are dumped into Nogales, Sonora and are immediately homeless. At our comedor, from May to December of 2011 we served 30,242 meals: 25,236 to men and 5,006 to women. This year, as of the end of July, we had served 35,999 meals.
In our shelter for women and children we were able to provide temporary lodging to 451 women and children during 2011.
The clinic run by KBI treats an average of 12-15 persons a day, primarily for blisters and dehydration.
Besides the work on the south side of the border there is our effort to educate folks in the USA about everything that has to do with immigration. We also welcome many groups and individuals who visit us here in Nogales. We will go to churches, schools, almost anywhere to give talks and presentations on issues related to immigration.
The mission of the Kino Border Initiative is to promote US/Mexico border and immigration policies that affirm the dignity of the human person and the spirit of bi-national solidarity through:
- Direct humanitarian assistance and accompaniment with migrants.
- Social and pastoral education with communities on both sides of the border.
- Participation in collaborative networks that engage in research and advocacy to transform local, regional and national policies.
There has not been much good news lately regarding fixing our broken immigration system. The Obama administration has deported record numbers of people. The Congress has not made any progress towards new laws and policies. But President Obama’s executive order to defer deportation for young people who meet certain criteria was a welcome action. Now tens of thousands of young people, who never did anything wrong but came here with their families, can come out of the shadows and go to school or enter the military.
There are some positive things happening in different parts of the country. Contrary to what is happening in Arizona and Alabama and a handful of other states, there are many cities around the country where policy makers are going out of their way to welcome immigrants and to help them integrate into the community. In a recent story in Governing magazine entitled, “Immigrant Friendly Cities want what Arizona Doesn’t”, it is pointed out:
“For every government that’s taking a tough line against immigrants, there are others that are embracing immigration-friendly policies… Major cities like New York, Chicago, Detroit and Houston—longstanding immigrant destinations—have begun to revisit their policies in an effort to become more welcoming. But the idea is also taking hold in Middle America, in places like Dayton and Boise, Idaho. It’s not simply out of a sense of goodwill; many leaders see these policy changes as economic development tools.”
So the news is not all bad!
But there is still much work to do. And we invite you to join us and work to create a country, a world where all of God’s children are welcome at the table. Please be in touch; let us know what you think of our work. Come for a visit. Invite one of our staff out to give a talk, engage in some dialogue. Estamos aquí para servirles!
Director of Education
Kino Border Initiative