Laredo, TX - Friendraiser

Our Laredo Experience

Written by: Sister Marge Clark, BVM

June 9, 2013

Mayor Salinas welcomed us to the wonderful city of Laredo. He called the attention of all those gathered (about 100) to the terrible amendment passed in the House on a party line vote. Rep. Steve King pushed the amendment that would make DREAMers "criminals." He also quoted an unnamed senator from Florida who said that even the  undocumented who serve in the military still should not eligible to become citizens.  And, he assured all that the border is secure!

Iris shared her very compelling story. Having been brought here as a child of 8, she soon became aware of what it meant to be undocumented. All of her siblings had been born here. When they would go anywhere, she was always told to be quiet, to not talk to anyone.  Why was it only she?  Or she was left at home.  She didn't understand for some time, and was very hurt. She was teased in school, and she lived in fear. From the time she heard of the DREAM Act, she prayed for its passage so she could go to college and fulfill her dream. She received a college scholarship, as the top person in her class, but was unable to use it. Her visa was about to run out. DREAM or marriage – they were the only ways she could remain here with her family. She is now legalized, but not by a route she dreamed of.  She married in order to become documented. She was in a violent marriage, which has now ended, but she has not been able to fulfill her dream. She spoke of all the women who get into violent marriages in order to get papers, and how they have suffered.

Sister Rosa thanked her, reminding us all how easy it is to ask people to share their stories – and how difficult it is for them to do it. She went on to tell of a woman whose husband had been deported. They were working to get him eligible to come back, following all the rules. Then she developed breast cancer, with no health insurance. It developed further, they kept pleading for his case to be addressed so he could be with her. Eventually he was granted a 72-hour visit. As she was dying, they said goodbye by telephone. They had spent over $10,000 and six years!  Their children are spread across family members, and the father is still not here.

The hundred or so people ended the program with a prayer that each read in his/her preferred language - followed by more conversation.