“The Church must meet our youth in detention centers,
at the borders.” Yadira, 29
Yadira, 29, is from a migrant background and now works with Mexican migrants in the United States. She was invited to the Synod on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment as an auditor, where she spoke about issues affecting migrant young people and their families.
“Immigration policies are changing the way in which families understand and live their lives, the way in which they pray and remain hopeful”
Yadira’s intervention at the Synod starts by considering the current political climate: restrictive migration policies and a widespread generalised hostility to migrants are having a profound impact on migrant communities in the United States. Yadira states that the current immigration policies disregard and threaten the dignity of migrants. The Church must play a role in promoting fair immigration policies that does not damage the family unit.
“The Church must meet our youth in detention centers, at the borders, wherever fear embraces them, and in all places where their safety and family unity are threatened.”
Yadira continues by saying that too many young people feel alienated from the Church, because of their experiences of oppression and racism. The Church, therefore, must always remember that Jesus Christ stands with the oppressed. Young people in these situations are turning to secular political activism, but the Church must meet them wherever they are living situations of difficulty, through practical ministries that makes them see that the Church values their lives and can be an agent for systemic change.
“Our mother Church desires to be where she is uncomfortable, dirty, and sweaty, relentlessly washing the feet of her most vulnerable children.”
Yadira concludes with the example of Saint Oscar Romero, calling for a Church that is present at the margins, in situations of great difficulty, ensuring that no migrant brother or sister is forgotten. If the Church goes to the peripheries, young people will be ready to pursue its mission too.