In the northern part of Donna, Maria Hernandez lives with her five children in a yellow mobile home. One of its shattered windows is boarded up; an air conditioner, propped up by a wooden pole, hangs from another. Among the items sitting on the ground outside are a broken toilet, a toddler’s car seat, and a mop.
Last Thursday, about 25 families exited a bus near a U.S.-Mexico border bridge near downtown El Paso. They had been flown in from south Texas, where they were apprehended after attempting to enter the country. Now, they faced expulsion into Ciudad Juarez, 800 miles from where they initially crossed.
Through early 2021, politicians have wrestled over whether the word “crisis” is warranted to describe the U.S.-Mexico border situation. Meanwhile, faith leaders and organizations have largely rejected the word as unwarranted, an oversimplification, a political tool, and an avenue for drastic solutions.
Wednesday morning, a pregnant mother and her young daughter stood in line for fresh clothes from the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley Humanitarian Respite Center (CCRGV). As her daughter clenched her right hand, the mother held a large yellow envelope with their travel plans to New Orleans in her left.
Near the end of S. 15th Street in Hidalgo, Texas, the road turns from smooth pavement to pothole-ridden dirt. Both sides of the street are no longer lined with local neighborhoods, but instead battered fences at the edge of desolate fields.