At the border, an LSA staff member translates with compassion
July 30, 2018 — Melina Gonzalez, LSA’s Immigration Outreach Coordinator, spent a week in Laredo TX this July, volunteering as a translator for women detained at the Mexican border and pro bono lawyers that traveled there to help them. Below is the message she shared with LSA staff and friends.
Melina’s message reminds us of the difference a compassionate presence can make for those in crisis. It also reminds us that the challenges faced by immigrant families persist. In our largely immigrant neighborhood of East Harlem, in New York City, where immigrants are central to the city’s history and identity, our commitment to immigrant neighbors remains strong.
We thank Melina for her service, and we are proud of her commitment to helping families, both here and in Laredo.
“I just want to be with my family!”
I have only been in Laredo TX for three days, and I have already witnessed more suffering and injustice then I have seen in all my years working with the immigrant communities in NYC. All I hear from these woman is, “I want to be with my family!” As an immigrant woman and mother, I can’t bear the thought of not being with my children.
We are not allowed to show any affection to the women we are interviewing—this has been the most difficult part of my journey. I feel the need to comfort them, but I cannot. So I focus all my energy in my work as a translator and do the best I can to make sure all their questions are answered and that all the details of their cases are communicated to the lawyers.
I want to thank all of you for your continued support and affection. It’s because of all of the support of my family, friends and coworkers that I can be here helping this group of lawyers to make a difference in so many ways for the women that are detained in Laredo, TX.
With much gratitude,