By: Roxane Ramos
This month, we profile the people who have kept the Kino Border Initiative active since its inception in 2009 and who have infused the national debate about immigration reform with compassion and thoughtful consideration—you, the supporters of the KBI. At the borderlands and throughout the country, your actions, prayers and donations—in direct and indirect ways—move us closer to instituting a humane immigration policy that allows families to be together, offers economic opportunities to those who seek them, provides a path to citizenship, and restores dignity to undocumented migrants, our neighbors who are fleeing violence and poverty to pursue a better life.
Together we can create this positive change. At a time when immigration reform is on the forefront of public awareness, we honor your commitment and work that helped get us here. And we encourage your continued support, action and prayers in this critical effort to humanize the border rather than criminalize it, and to open our arms rather than turn away. Here are some ways to continue this effort.
Donate • To the KBI: Your donation feeds, clothes, heals and houses the migrants the KBI serves. In addition, contributions to the KBI fund educational programming as well as advocacy efforts on behalf of the migrants and research to provide concrete information to policymakers.
• Visit the KBI and spend time with the migrants and the KBI staff at the outreach center and shelter. Day visits as well as immersion experiences (longer trips of 1–3 days) bring you right to the border to learn more about immigration issues first-hand. KBI staff are also available for presentations and workshops at your parish, school or local organization. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/fees-for-educational-programming/
• Help keep families together by signing the petition sponsored by United We Dream, a non-partisan, youth-led organization advocating for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. http://unitedwedream.org/action/stop-deportations/open-cases/#
• Write House Speaker John Boehner and urge him to bring immigration law 744, to a vote. This bill was already passed in the Senate and addresses the issue of family reunification for migrants. http://www.speaker.gov/CONTACT
• If you’ve had an opportunity to visit the KBI, have had a transformative encounter, or wish to raise the awareness of others, consider writing an article for your parish newsletter or local paper. One of the strongest ways we can educate others about the critical issue of immigration reform is by telling our stories and sharing our views.
• Read articles you may have missed from Passages, the KBI newsletter. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/category/news/
• Learn about the latest immigration-related news and ways you can get more involved at BorderLinks, a Tucson-based KBI partner that raises awareness about the impact of border and immigration policies through dynamic educational experiences.
• Rent Who Is Dayani Cristal?, a documentary by Marc Silver. Actor and activist Gael García Bernal retraces the journey of a migrant who died along the stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death,” providing a rare view of what migrants experience on el camino. Each year 400–500 migrants lose their lives during the crossing. http://whoisdayanicristal.com/
• Arrange for a screening of Documented, a film by José Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist. Migrating to the U.S. at the age of 12 from the Philippines to live with his documented grandparents, Vargas speaks out about his undocumented status in the hopes of illuminating the challenges of mixed-status families and advocating for policy change. http://documentedthefilm.com/