BROWNSVILLE, Texas – People from all across the country gathering at the Brownsville-Matamoros border. They are demanding an end to the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
Since the implementation of MPP, tens of thousands of asylum-seeking immigrants have been forced to await their court dates in Mexico.
“People are living in hell over there.”
Joshua Rubin is the organizer of Witness at the Border. It is an ongoing event drawing activists from 30 different states to hold daily vigils at Xeriscape Park and visit the Mexican tents to “bear witness.”
He’s made several visits to the camps in Mexico. He says immigrants are being housed in cruel conditions where they’re susceptible to violence, such as rape and kidnapping.
“People who are frightened, people with sick children. People living in tents erected in the mud. People having to struggle to fetch fresh water.” says Rubin.
Other activists are making a difference by teaching school lessons to children in Mexico. Patty Brown came down from Alaska as a member of “Teachers Against Child Detention” and plans stay for three weeks. She says lawmakers are turning their backs on the values America was founded on.
“I think they need to honor the laws, the original asylum laws. Honor the intention and above all treat people like they’re real people who want to contribute.”
Joshua Rubin previously helped shut down two child detention centers in the country. He says he will not stop challenging immigration policies until immigrants are given justice.
“When you see what’s going on and you hear that people are counting on you, or hoping that you’re going to be able to do something. It’s a burden that you can’t shrug off. Its painful but you can’t shrug it off.”
Many say they are prepared to stay for weeks — even months — until the policy is overturned and immigrants are able to await their asylum cases in the U.S. The daily vigils are set to continue indefinitely, and Rubin welcomes anyone interested in participating.