On Monday, January 18, 14 members of the UUA Board of Trustees will walk across the border with other UUs and members of the group No Mas Muertes (No More Deaths, a ministry of the UU Congregation of Tucson) to Nogales, Mexico, where we will speak with migrants and just-deported migrants. The afternoon includes a panel discussion with human rights and immigration rights activists. Tuesday will find some of us in court, observing the deportation process; and some of us back in Nogales, doing hands-on service work for the same groups of people we saw the day before. On Wednesday we return to Tempe and the start of the January Board meeting, part of it jointly with the 2012 GA Advisory Team. This team, chaired by the Rev. Leslie Takahashi Morris, was convened to represent many of the stakeholders in a “justice GA” and reports to both the Board and the GA Planning Committee.
The Board meeting includes time with several immigration rights groups and local UU congregations. The events in Tucson of January 8, in which 6 people were murdered, and a US representative is still in critical condition, add both deliberation and urgency to these meetings. Many of our local congregants knew Representative Giffords and other victims of the shooting, and worked on her campaign. We all shared the shock expressed by President Peter Morales that day.
The immigration issue has become more and more personal for me. Reading The Death of Josseline forced me to abandon my own “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding many of the service people I come into contact with. Many of them are illegal, including one who is college-educated from El Salvador. She fled because her father and his family were targeted by crime gangs, and spent 10 days in jail when she was caught crossing the border to the United States illegally.
When they let her go, she kept on walking north.
Trustee from the Pacific Central Dictrict