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|1/13: Cactus, TX: Urgent Help for Families And Their Deported Relatives at Swift Raid!
Released 13 January 2007  By Viviana Hall, Mireya Davidson
1/13: Cactus, TX: Urgent Help for Families And Their Deported Relatives at Swift Raid!
To Whom it May Concern,
A group of activist traveled to Cactus, Texas on December 27 to find out about the events that took place on December the 12th regarding the deportation of Swift employees.
I am writing to you because our visit to Cactus has left us with a mission to help 400 families who have been left behind and have not heard from their deported relatives.
I wrote an article, which I am enclosing with this message and I would like to find out if there is a way we could get your organization to join us in the efforts to help this community in great need.
Where is my dad? The struggle of MANY CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND!
Christmas has come and gone, but for approximately 250 children in Cactus, Texas, Christmas was just another day going to bed wondering… where were their parents?
On December 12, 2006 immigration authorities, wearing black masks and carrying machine guns, seized the Swift meat packing plant. Employees were taken and their children left without their father or mother. In some cases they are missing both.
Local residents and activists have been organizing humanitarian efforts to provide for these children’s basic needs, but what could possibly fulfill the need for these children to be in the heart of their WHOLE family?
15 days later, on December 27, we decided to take the almost 8 hour trip from Dallas to Cactus to learn firsthand about this heart breaking story. It was amazing to learn that out of the 400 families affected by the December 12 events, only a small number have had contact with their loved ones; most of them do not know where they are We spoke with Guatemalan indigenous women whose husbands were taken away on that day. Only one of them had received a call from her husband, a native Guatemalan, who reported being dropped off at Juarez, Mexico. His lack of ability to speak Spanish (Quiche is his native language) and the fact that he has no knowledge of the Mexican system, or the city of Juarez, has made it impossible for him to do anything to reunite his family. This young mother, holding their baby in her back, shared with us that she would be too scared to go with him since he has never been there before…. He is not in Guatemala.
Mercedes Rodriguez, a local civic activist, has opened a donation center where near one hundred families receive food, clothes, and other basic needs on behalf of the children who have been left with no household provider. Catholic churches located at near-by towns such as Dumas and Amarillo are operating other donation centers.
Father Juan Garza coordinates the efforts from these churches, which help close to 300 families where children have been LEFT BEHIND. This group includes families of workers who use to travel to Cactus to work, but lived in the surrounding areas. Father Juan reports that the situation is more than sad, it’s terrible, he said. Imagine the chaos! Babysitters and local elders who are already impacted by poverty, are caring for children who lost both parents, while single mothers are soon to ran out of the financial means to pay for the sites they currently occupy. In a short amount of time these 400 families will be homeless and if their main providers can’t be contacted, who is going to pay for their expenses? What’s going to happen when the children are expected to go back to school next week?
The separation of these families is a criminal act, but much more complicated issues are also arising. For starters, not knowing any NEWS from those who were forced to leave their children behind means this situation is going to extend for a very long period of time. How are these people supposed to be reunited with their loved ones when they don’t even know where they are?
These and many other questions need to be answered. They are core human rights issues. Humanitarian efforts need to double and if the whole Texas community responds with love and compassion for these children, perhaps they will grow up remembering this event not as what it really is: the most cruel and depressing part of their lives, but as one full of memories of warmth, support, and the tender loving care that characterizes our Nation under God.
On January 14 we celebrate immigrant day. It would be great if we could get support to help these children and make January 14 the deadline to bring donations and money.
**We Need Your Donations!**
The donations can be sent to:
St. Peter & Paul Church Children Fund
P. O. Box 503
Dumas, TX 79029
Attention Priest Juan Antonio cell 806-930-5283.
The phone of Imelda Maldonado is 806-570-1540.
To raise funds there is going to be a party on January 27th in Cactus, TX.
The tickets are $10.00 each or $15.00 at the door. In Dallas we are planning to buy several tickets even though we will not be able to go.
If you want to buy the tickets send the check to the address above to the St. Peter and Paul Church Children's Fund. Imelda has all the information.
The money from the donations will be used to buy food, help the families to pay bills and buy bus tickets for the families affected by the deportation. Some of these families want to go back to Mexico or Guatemala.
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