Buen Pastor petition
On their way home from an Easter celebration in Fresno, Texas last year, members of the El Buen Pastor congregation experienced civil and human rights abuses. They were intercepted in Lake Charles, Louisiana by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). If they did not sign the forms CBP gave them, they were told, their families would be torn apart and their children taken into state custody. Throughout their arrest, CBP agents taunted them for their religious practices and treated them inhumanely. The members were not driving in a way that would draw attention to themselves and never came within 300 miles from the border.
From their arrest declarations:
The officials were banging on the door. My sister-in-law told the officials to lower their voices....All of us were scared. We said, "We are coming from a church event." There were babies in the car and they were all crying. However, the officials did not change their tone. My niece is special needs and she started to moan and throw her arms around in the air. Her father was worried that she was going to accidentally detach herself from the feeding machine....As my children watched the officers handcuff my husband they started to cry....As we were driven to the CBP office by the officers one of my aunts was crying and upset, trying to pray and sing hymns in a quiet voice. Everyone else was crying and the official just laughed, asking if God would save us from this?
Currently, 24 member of Buen Pastor are fighting their deportation. Since October 2010, they have held two vigils and a press conference about the human rights abuses they have suffered. The Southern Coalition for Social Justice has been representing the church members in immigration proceedings and will fight a civil case against the CBP.
Download a PDF of the individual stories of the Buen Pastor congregation here.