From left: Rev. Benjamin Perry ’15, Rev. Emily Brewer ’15, Elisa Rosoff, Jessica Miller, Gabrielle Sclafani
From December 6 – 11, a Union delegation traveled to the San Diego/Tijuana border, to work with asylum seekers in Mexico and participate in a protest at the border. Below, they describe their experience, what it taught them about the US immigration system, and what ministry can look like amidst such unjust suffering.
Gabrielle Sclafani (3rd Year M.Div.):
I traveled to Tijuana with trepidation, considerate of concerns about people without knowledge of the local context arriving to contribute to a “cause.” Yet when I got there I was less disturbed by those of us who showed up, whatever our ineptitudes and imperfect Spanish, and more disturbed by how few people seemed to be responding to a literal crisis at the US-Mexico border. Upwards of 6,000 people (including hundreds of small children) are living in crowded tent cities—weeks of limited access to healthcare, food, running water, and social services are taking their toll. Within a few hours of arriving, I grew uncomfortable that I could only stay two days—the need for people on the ground, and more importantly, a sustained presence, felt grave.
Refugees play soccer in the Barretal tent camp courtyard
I worked primarily as a translator between lawyers with limited to no Spanish and individuals seeking asylum. The lawyers we worked with from Al Otro Lado could not offer much—they are not asylum adjudicators, and the process, “la lista,” by which individuals are lining up to announce themselves

https://utsnyc.edu/love-knows-no-borders/

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