Faith leaders from Northern and Southern California visited Calexico, US and Mexicali, Mexico April 26th-27th, 2023 in a multifaith Pilgrimage to learn and bear witness to struggles immigrants are facing at the U.S. – Mexico border in California, and to call for a better future. The delegation first traveled to Mexico to visit a shelter in Mexicali where many asylum seekers have been blocked from approaching the border and seeking asylum and protection. The following day, the group conducted a prayer service in front of Imperial Regional Detention Facility in Calexico, US, to bear witness to the suffering of those who are detained inside. The Pilgrimage ended with a visit to the Holtville cemetery of unnamed immigrants who have died in the desert in the region.
The Pilgrimage aimed to shed light on the injustices of the current asylum seeking process and immigrant detention. Fairness, freedom and opportunity should be at the core of our immigration system, but our current system isn’t set up to uphold these values. Instead, the Federal Government systematically blocks and deprives people of their liberty, separates them from their loved ones, and often puts lives at risk in ICE detention. The current system of detention didn’t exist just a few decades ago, and is inhumane and unnecessary: people can navigate immigration proceedings while living with their families or in the community without the trauma of immigration detention.
Learn more about the Imperial Valley, the harms of immigrant detention including at Imperial Regional Detention Facility, and the right to seek asylum with the Border Experience Pilgrimage Resource Guide.