For more than ten years, dedicated immigration advocates have braved the weather, rain or shine, cold or snow, to hold a prayer vigil at the Broadview Detention Center in Chicago. This was the place, until a year ago, from which immigrants were sent on their way out of the country when deported. They are now deported from a location in Kankakee, Illinois, but the processing of new detainees still takes place here.
Each Friday at 7:15 am people from different faiths gather to pray…for those being deported that day; for those whose cases are being considered; for families broken apart; for children traumatized by our immigration system; for asylum seekers sent back to Mexico; for those who have died in the process; for all affected by the tragedies occurring daily.
On this cold, windy first Friday of the month of March, Sr. Cathy Fedewa, CSFN, a staff member at the Cabrini Retreat Center in Des Plaines, IL, joined the interfaith group and heard prayer and testimony from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions. Rabbi Brant Rosen wrote his rendering of Lamentations 2 which, when read with the tragedy of our current immigration system in mind, becomes a sad commentary on our country. In one section he writes:
“our so-called glorious past is now seen
for the sham that it was,
the way of life we celebrate is but a privilege
for the few and the powerful,
we can’t see that our own might
will be our downfall”
Sadness and frustration was in the hearts of all those who attended, some of whom later joined others for a meeting to discuss what could be done to counter the wrong that is being inflicted on migrants, particularly through the Migrant Protection Policy (MPP, commonly called Return to Mexico).
Consideration is being given to use the annual public Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, held in downtown Chicago, as one of the opportunities to educate the public on the tragedies occurring as a result of this policy. This is being done in the hope of helping all to understand the need to de-fund MPP and allow migrants to stay in the U.S. while their asylum case is being considered