Today has been filled with tons of learning and Arizona sun!
We began the day early at the Florence Detention Centre Complex. We had a very comprehensive tour given by the employees about the functioning of the centre which also gave us an introduction to immigration issues faced when entering and/or being detained in the United States. This was a very interesting experience that has left many of us participants feeling saddened and frustrated. It is amazing the amount of money and resources that goes towards this ‘business’ and how broken and destructive this system seems.
We had lunch at an amazing restaurant called Jalapeño in Florence with such nice hospitality. Really, we have experienced great hospitality and welcomeness everywhere thus far.
In the afternoon we visited the Florence Project which started in 1989 when a judge who oversaw immigration cases realized that many people who faced deportation did not have access to resources for knowing their rights.
Info Fact: Being undocumented and detained is not a criminal offence but a civil offence, (the first time at least) and this means that they do not have an attorney provided to their case.
So the Florence Project does a ton of stuff, one of the main programs is having information sessions in the detention centres about detainees rights and preparing them for their deportation hearings.
In the evening Luzdy (who works for West Coast MCC) and her husband TIm hosted us in their home for an amazing meal. We met their son, daughter-in-law and ‘adopted son’. In addition, throughout the day we have also been introduced to: Clementine with MCC Mexico, Jeannette and Tito with HEPAC, Luzdy and Jen with West Coast MCC and Tina, a Mennonite Pastor and spiritual director who works in the community of Tuscon.
Thank you friends, family and supporters for reading this. We are safe and comfortable for the night.
All the best,