A Trip to Broadview Detention Center
This past Friday I was given the opportunity to join a group of seniors taking a trip to the immigration detention center in Broadview, IL. The seniors are part of Casa Esperanza Community Center’s Senior program. I have been working with the Senior Program to find volunteers for their program and also provide information to the seniors on how they can become citizens through PASO’s citizenship program. I was asked by the Program Manager, Elizabeth Sanchez, to join them on this trip. The seniors were traveling to the Broadview Detention Center to join a vigil that is held every Friday morning for the people who are being taken to O’Hare airport to be deported from the country. The Broadview Detention Center is the last stop for many people who are in the process of being deported. From the Broadview Detention Center those being deported are taken directly to O’Hare airport where they are put on a plane and flown out the country.
The day was very cold and rainy but the seniors felt that it was very important to go. After the vigil, a presentation was given to explain to the seniors what they had just experience and give them an overview of the current state of the immigration system. Yet most importantly, the seniors were provided with opportunities to take action. It was stressed the importance of becoming citizens and voting as well as other opportunities to get involved in their community. In fact, at least 10 of the seniors will be coming to Springfield next Tuesday PASO and ICIRR to advocate for issues important to the immigrant community. Seeing these seniors take action to try to improve their community is truly an amazing thing to witness. It truly shows how the Uniting America program is helping immigrants better integrate into their communities by becoming more civically engaged.