This is the last post in my series on Latino immigration, and offers some of my final reflections and ideas for how you can choose to become involved.
What now, and what Can I Do?
This series was pretty information dense, and somewhat un-bloglike, so kudos to you for making it to the end! I kept it that way on purpose, though, because this debate can become so emotionally charged, and somewhat disconnected from reality. I wanted to show that the facts in this debate really argue for themselves. When you look into the causes and effects of the system, anyone can see it that it is broken. It causes so much harm to people, both those who are hurt and those who do the hurting.
A couple of years ago I visited the Eastern Shore for Professor Arries’ medical interpretation externship, where worked mainly with migrant farmworkers. I really recommend it if you are at all interested. I got to see a taste of the terrible abuses of the system. I visited camps. I saw an old, broken, two-story house with 40 people living inside. I saw how close the pesticide dispensers were to the camps- in fact, our car got sprayed with them as we drove there. I saw people sick with chronic illnesses that spiraled out of control because they lacked the resources to care for them. I saw agricultural businesses with so little accountability for the way that workers were treated that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“Where there’s life, there’s hope.” Even with things as bleak as they are, hope can’t be lost. There are so many ways that we, even as young adults, can become part of the efforts to reform the system, at any level that we feel comfortable with.
Border Relief Centers
Kino Border Initiative-They offer food, shelter, and medical support to migrants.
No More Deaths– They offer humanitarian aid in the desert, keep records of abuses, and work with local community groups to help migrants after deportation.
Houston Catholic Worker- Casa Juan Diego– They offer multiple services, including food, clothing, services for pregnant women and women who have been abused, and for people with disabilities.
Manos Unidas- CITA– They help workers obtain visas, advocate for improved working conditions, and help workers find jobs.
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights– They work to combat abuse of immigrants at a local level, as well as documenting abuses and advocating to organizations such as the United Nations.
National Immigration Law Center– They provide legal counsel to immigrants with low incomes, as well as advocate for legal protections.
Farmworker Justice– They advocate for improved conditions for farmworkers.
Eastern Shore Medical Interpretation Externship– You work with Professor Arries to work with Eastern Shore Rural Health to medically interpret over the summer.
Sacred Heart Center, Richmond– They offer English language classes, adult education programs, family services, and economic initiatives.
So there you have it- just a few ways that you could choose to become involved. There is so much to be done, and so many changes that must be made. But when you try, please, above all, remember the dignity of the people you work with. Ask them what their experience is, what they need. If you let that guide your efforts, the results will amaze you.