Over spring break, I went to the border with several other Georgetown students to participate in programming with Borderlinks and visit Kino. As I prepare to go to Kino, I am rereading some of my reflections from the experience. Here is one that explains my path to Kino:
Jesuits often speak of the concept of accompaniment. We are to be with the poor and marginalized as they live their lives. And that means walking with them. It means following their journey.
In many ways, my spring break on the US-Mexico border was a step in that journey. I have traveled with immigrants before. Taken the bus with them. Walked with them to their homes. I have seen a small piece of the journey of immigration.
But over spring break I took a few more steps. I walked through the Florence Detention Center where immigrants are held for processing before being deported. I thought of those I knew who live on the edge of fear, knowing that the next step might always be a detention center. I walked into a courtroom to watch Operation Streamline, where the Border Patrol prosecutes 70 immigrants in an afternoon for the crime of illegal entry. I thought of those I knew who could have ended up here and been one of the many voices to plea “culpable.”
And then I walked across the border. And heard a few stories of those who had been in Florence or in the Tucson courthouse. A few who I had, unknowingly, walked with.
I have not taken all of the steps in the journey. I have never crossed the desert in the hot summer sun. I have never hopped a train to travel thousands of miles north. I have never had to turn back, knowing that I had to return to my family empty handed.
But I am committed to continue walking. I am committed to continue accompanying the immigrant, the stranger, the foreigner, God’s child.
And so I prepare to take a step this fall across the border. I will walk just a few yards beyond the fence. And I must trust in God to follow the path that He has laid out for me so that I might walk by His side.