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Mexico: Caught in the Middle between Migrants and Deportees

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Many refugees arrive in San Miguel on the top of a train car.

By Robin Loving

For those of us not washed away by a hurricane or buried in rubble by an earthquake, it is easy to be grateful for the security and comfort of our homes. Literally right around the corner, however, our sisters and brothers from Central America are fleeing violence and poverty, and local citizens are doing their best to give them a break. Learn at Rotary what you can do to help on Tuesday, October 3, when Toni Roberts and Linda Sorin present information about refugee assistance programs in our area. The meeting will be free and in English at Hotel Misión, Salida a Queretaro 1, at 12:30pm.

Roberts and Sorin are part of a group called Amigos de Migrantes, local citizens formed to provide humanitarian aid such as food, clothing, and essential toiletries to refugees passing through San Miguel and to support a refugee safe house in Celaya.

What Roberts and Sorin call The Train Tracks Team is composed of volunteers who offer assistance to refugees passing through San Miguel. The name comes from the fact that much of the aid is dispensed at the railroad tracks as refugees come through on the tops of local trains. Mostly from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, the refugees are fleeing the violence, poverty, and rampant gang and cartel warfare in their own countries. Mostly young and vulnerable, many of them have been robbed, beaten, and/or raped along their journey.

The safe house, ABBA, A.C., was designed to accommodate around 75 migrants; however, it recently housed 220 men, women, and children. In an average month, it feeds and houses around 300 migrants. Most are from Central America, but there are deportees from the US as well. ABBA provides 72 hours of shelter, food, medical aid, psychological counseling, legal advice, clothing, and emotional and spiritual support in a clean, safe, and secure environment. It works with Cruz Roja on its mission.

Toni Roberts has been an activist since the US named Nicaragua a menace when she had three draft-aged sons at peril of going to war in a country she visited and found had no military. She returned the opposite of speechless, wearing a path between New York City and Washington, DC, as an organizer, marching, speaking, petitioning, and educating. Feeling that despite her efforts she had made no difference, she believes that her work with refugees, providing aid one to one, is much more powerful.

Linda Sorin, who holds a Master of Business Administration degree in healthcare administration, began her love affair with Latin American people and Spanish the day after the Peace Accords were signed in Guatemala in 1997. In her 15 years in San Miguel, she has volunteered for a variety of nonprofit organizations. Seeing refugees in San Miguel moved her to act on their behalf.

Rotary is where neighbors, friends and problem-solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change. For more information, see RotarySMAMidday.org and contact President Fred Collins at presidentmidday@berkleyline.com. To give to the refugee effort, see

youcaring.com/rrgroupproject-879917.

 

Rotary Presentation

“Mexico: Caught in the Middle between Migrants and Deportees”

By Robin Loving

Tue, Oct 3, 12:30pm

Hotel Misión

Salida a Querétaro 1

Free

 

 

 

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