Standing up for migrants - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Lent 2024 newsletter


Coralis Salvador, U.S.-Mexico Border

Love is the absence of judgement.
—Dalai Lama

Demonstration in support of migrants

At an El Paso demonstration against the increasingly draconian anti-immigrant measures in Texas

Migrants leave their country as an act of defiance, an act of nonviolence. The shelters of El Paso provide them a respite and service to help them reach their final home in our country.

We are concerned for them because come March 5, Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB4) will take effect. SB4 creates state-level crimes for illegally entering or reentering the country and inaugurates a state deportation scheme. The federal government is the body that enforces criminal entry and reentry statutes and the sole arbiter of deportation decisions.

Protest with Sister Betty

Sister Betty at her regular Friday spot in El Paso, which I was privileged to join.

As I write this, the controversy is in court and awaiting final judgement before March 5. In the meantime, Texas law enforcement authorities are given the power to stop, arrest and jail migrants with no documentations. A person accompanying a non-documented migrant could be charged with “smuggling.” As for me, I will continue to serve the migrants without asking them their status.

The majority of El Pasoans view this legislation as discriminatory and racially motivated, targeting individuals with legislation that the state does not have an authority to regulate. To show our protest, our Maryknoll community joined a demonstration and march organized in February as part of a campaign to educate the public on human rights infringements and to oppose the bill.

We urged the state of Texas to eliminate the legislation before it goes into effect. We emphasized our concerns about the potential consequences of the law and called for its repeal to uphold the rights of all individuals, regardless of their immigration status.

I’d like to introduce you to my favorite nonviolence advocate: Sister Betty Campbell, a Sister of Mercy. She’s one of our facilitators at our Encuentro Project. Together with the late Father Peter Hinde, a Carmelite, she co-founded the Tabor House, a community for contemplative political action and solidarity with Latin America.

Our retreat in Chile focused on our relationship with God’s creation.

The two were guided by a quote of a local man: “Good guests do not enter a home uninvited and don’t rearrange things once inside.” Sister Betty practices a low-key ministry by being with the people, helping them when she can, and being a good neighbor. She also conducts consciouness-raising workshops on what she believes are the corrosive effects of U.S. policy toward Latin Americans and workshops for women. She accompanies the people in her justice and peace ministry. She is a witness living in solidarity with the poor.

In January, my El Paso colleagues Carol and Megan and I joined an amazing retreat in Tremonhue, Chile. It focused on our relationship with all of God’s creations and understanding our role in the universe.

Sister Gail Worcelo of the Green Mountain Monastery in Vermont led the retreat. The retreat opened another dimension of my spirituality, deepening the oneness with God’s creations, and connecting with the wisdom of indigenous ancestors, especially in caring for the Earth and its impact on ourselves. It felt providential to me to participate because this was an aspect that needed nurturing.

As we are one, I thank you for your partnership in our ministries and spirituality. Have a wonderful spring time.

Much love and many blessings,

Please consider supporting my mission work at the U.S.-Mexico border with a donation through the link below.

I invite you to walk with me as a “COMPANION IN MISSION.” Companions in Mission are friends and generous donors who give financial gifts on a regular (usually monthly) basis. For more information, visit Become a Companion in MissionThank you so much for your generosity! 


Coralis Salvador
Coralis is a community volunteer at a shelter for asylum seekers released from ICE or CBP detentions and at “La Tilma” feeding program of Sacred Heart Church in El Paso, Texas. She previously served with Maryknoll Lay Missioners in Kenya for 19 years. She is the co-author of the Orbis book What’s So Blessed About Being Poor?