For the last six Saturdays my husband Art and I have volunteered for the evening shift at the refugee shelter at St. Francis in the Foothills Methodist Church in Tucson. The shelter is part of the Inn2America project. We serve dinner and keep company with about a dozen refugees from Guatemala or Honduras or Mexico or El Salvador who have been released by ICE, on their way to family or friends in the United States who are sponsoring them. Our guests spend one to three days at the shelter, waiting for their sponsors to pay for bus tickets to their destination. While they're at the shelter, they're fed and clothed and housed - and welcomed to a place of safety. We do whatever is needed between 5 and 9 on Saturday evening.
It's a lot like the work we've done at a refugee camp in Greece for the last couple of years. Though three years ago the refugee situation was only a vague idea in my mind, it's become a passion for me. And I'm especially grateful that Art has chosen to do much of the work with me.
But tonight I'm at home instead. I got a text early this afternoon from the shelter coordinator. She said, "For the third day in a row there will be no guests at the Inn2America project. ICE is releasing very few people. We don't know why. So no need to come in this evening."
I have learned it is futile to get angry or frustrated over things I have no control over. ICE is one of those things. I suspect there's something political going on, most likely related to the government shutdown.
So I have tonight at home. As soon as I finish this blog post, I'll practice my Spanish on Duolingo and then probably read. I'm just about done with Michelle Obama's memoir.
I'm inside my little home in Tucson, listening to the rain on the metal roof. I hope the refugees being held by ICE are warm and fed and safe tonight. And also the ones at the camp in Greece.
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