Mothers of Disappeared Migrants Plead for Help
~ by Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON – A group of women looking for sons and daughters who were never heard from again after migrating to the U.S. traveled in mid-to late October throughout the country to plead for better immigration laws.
Caravan of Mothers of the Disappeared, a project backed by Pax Christi USA and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, helped spotlight the plight of the group of women, who made a stop in Washington on October 19 to meet with members of Congress.
On October 20, the mothers, often only giving their first names, participated in an online event and talked about their family members, how and why their sons and daughters left their home countries, their last whereabouts, and the last time they spoke to them. They also shared how they had dropped off samples of their DNA with authorities at the border in hopes of one day finding out what happened to them.
Many of the stories mirrored the one told by Aracely, a mother from El Salvador,
last heard from her son, Edwin Alexander Colindres, more than nine years ago. He had set off for the U.S. to find work. He was in communication with his mother through part of the journey north, then she never heard from him again.
A woman named Bertila said she found her son, “but not the way I had hoped. …I never expected to find him among the dead,” she said. He was kidnapped by drug cartels in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and his remains were later identified in a mass grave.
“I’m here to support the mothers,” she said. “All along the border, there are thousands and thousands of remains. I had to fight for years for the remains of my son. I asked everyone for help, but no one wants to help the poor.”
Like many of the other mothers, she had seen her son leave, looking for work he couldn’t find at home. She called for better paths to enter the U.S., ones that won’t put people in danger.
“We look for them because we love them,” shouted one of the women in the caravan.
“As I listened to them, the women, it’s heart-wrenching,” said Mercy Sr. Anne Marie Miller in an interview with Catholic News Service. “It touches you to hear the suffering.”
“We have to do something…use our voices as women religious,” she said, adding that organizations such as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) have long advocated for justice in such situations. To read the entire story please click here