March 20, 2020
Dear Friends of the Kino Border Initiative:
I write to express to you all my profound gratitude for your wonderful support of the Kino Border Initiative, especially in the midst of these very challenging times. I would also like to update you on what is happening at the KBI in light of the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the steps we are taking to respond, and how you can support us in this effort.
At the moment, there are two confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the State of Sonora. They are in Hermosillo, a three-hour drive from Nogales. Also, there is reportedly one confirmed case in Santa Cruz County, where Nogales, Arizona is located. As far as we know, no confirmed cases exist in Nogales, Sonora. We are monitoring the situation closely, especially since it can change so quickly, and we will make adjustments as needed.
Additionally, we have taken measures to mitigate the risk of infection of migrants and our staff. This week, our staff and volunteers began wearing masks and gloves. We don't seat any of the migrants inside the Comedor. Rather, we are serving them from the doors of the Comedor and of our new migrant outreach center. One person at a time approaches to receive the meal. We ask that they bring their own containers and they receive the food to go. If they do not have their own bowls or cups, we provide them a cup and a disposable plate.
At the same time, our long-term volunteers are ending their service at KBI and we are telling future long-term volunteers not to come, out of concern for their health and for the well-being of our staff and the migrants in Nogales, Sonora. We are also not hosting visits or immersion groups. We have suspended the Sunday Mass in the Comedor as well and we are providing limited first aid and legal services. In a word, we are providing essential services while trying to watch out for the well-being of everyone concerned.
As we make this transition, we are in need of the following:
Any help you could provide with some or all of these items would be a great support to us.
Finally, we released a statement yesterday on the Trump Administration's decision to expedite returns to Mexico. You can access it at the following link.
We are serving with great courage and diligence in the face of very difficult circumstances. Our faith in our mission and in the One who has sent us here strengthen us as we face our current challenges. You and the migrants we accompany are great lights that sustain us as well. In the end, God's ongoing revelations through these lights and many others will encourage us all to respond to this crisis with fortitude and grace, while empowering us to continue to be a humanizing presence on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Rev. Sean Carroll, S.J.
P.S. I invite you to stay current with news and information about issues impacting migration and the border by following us on Facebook.