In fiscal year 2021, 1,659,206 people were apprehended on our southern border and taken into custody attempting to enter the U.S.A. illegally. Many had traveled thousands of dangerous miles from such distant locations as Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Venezuela and far southern Mexico. They have given their life savings to smugglers. Arriving at the border, their real journey begins. Often lost in the broiling deserts, robbed, and abused, if captured they are transported back to the border and dropped off in Mexico. Alone and without hope, the desperation is palpable. Here the refugees are easy targets to the myriad exploitations of which the poor and uneducated are prey.
This unprecedented influx of displaced people is straining border town infrastructures to the maximum. We have seen it 1st hand. Their stories are horrific. These people are broken. Their lives are shattered.
At Rancho Feliz we find this human suffering untenable. In response we support a migrant protection shelter in Agua Prieta titled C.A.M.E. (Centro de Atención al Migrante Exodus). C.A.M.E. is a registered Mexican non-profit. Here migrants are supplied medical care and their basic needs. They are safe from ongoing smuggler violence. They can recuperate following their soul-crushing ordeals and decide what to do next. Often clean clothes and a bus ticket home are included. From January to November 2021, more than 26,000 people were served.
An integral part of our Rancho Feliz Volunteer experience is to visit this Migrant Shelter and meet the deportees in person. Here volunteers listen to their stories first hand. Few Americans know the true situation. This human connection changes people’s lives. The volunteers leave better educated, more compassionate and more grateful for their own fortunate lives. They carry this new-found awareness back home helping to reweave the moral fabric of our own communities here in the U.S.A.