Monday, July 16, 2012

Mexico Has Mixed Feelings Over Traveling Immigrants: Show They Stay or Go?

In Tultitlan, Mexico, residents who once knew their neighbors in the small town, are now living in fear of strangers who have been wandering the streets near their residences. These strangers are immigrants from Central American, mainly from countries Hondorus, El Savador and Guatamala. The immigrants arrived in Mexico waiting to hop the next cargo train into the U.S.. But, up until last week, they were welcomed into an Immigrant's Shelter, headed by the Roman Catholic Church.

"Priests said the Casa del Migrante -- the immigrant's house -- was a safe haven for vulnerable people on an increasingly perilous journey." (CNN: In Mexico, Central American Immigrants Under Fire). This place is where immigrants would go to receive warm meals and sleep before traveling. They also receive medical care and fresh clothes, donated by the Church.

"It's not that we're against immigrants," Osvaldo Espinosa says. "We just want them to get rid of that house."

Many of the residents worry of crime including rape and murders. Few Mexican residents admit that the attentions of the immigrants are decent. Some fear that the immigrants have escaped to avoid murder charges from their home countries.

"We are afraid now to go out at night. We are imprisoned in our own homes," Martha Morales said.

Although the residents near the shelter are in fear, the immigrants themselves remain in fear, as well. Some immigrants report that residents (drug dealers, gang members, posing police) steal from them - usually money - and if they don't have any money they are killed and have rocks thrown at them. One immigrant reported carrying rocks for protection with him at all times.

 For six hours, protesters stood in front of the doors, not allowing immigrants inside the doors of the shelter. Two days later, a sign written in magic marker read "Casa del Migrante 'closed.' Immigrant friend, continue your journey."

Some residents have mixed feelings about the closing of the Shelter. Some feel it was a blessing, others say they are happy to walk the streets without getting asked for money from these strangers.

Immigration is becoming more prevalent in the U.S. Christine Ho and James Loucky wrote about the treatment of immigrants and the rights that they have in their new Kumarian Press publication Humane Migration.

Do you believe the chruch did the right thing in closing the shelter?

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