Fr. Richard MacDonald, SCJ, a member of the North American Migration Committee, shares the following reflection on a recent source of job creation in the Rio Grande Valley:
I think this is all about “restoring human dignity” but it seems like a “win-lose” situation. Let me share the facts:
Today the local media announced there would be a “job fair” with 200 jobs available. The jobs are tied to a migrant children’s shelter that is opening by December of this year. So far, 300 jobs have been filled, meaning that it will bring a total of 500 jobs for the area. The federal government will have a payroll budget of between $20 and $24 million dollars to run the facility. The location will be an abandoned Walmart on the edge of Raymondville. Note that the reason Walmart closed this store is because it only brought in a profit of approximately $400,000.00 a year.
The newspaper article expresses joy at the creation of 500 jobs. I personally know many of the families who now have jobs and are giving thanks to God that that life will be a bit easier. The wages start at about $12 to $14 an hour; more than Walmart paid and the benefits are better!
This migrant children’s shelter in Raymondville will house another 500 minors, held in captivity, without any contact with parents or family. It is one of many we are aware of in cities such as Harlingen, Brownsville and Weslaco. The number of people wanting to live in the United States grows regularly. We are well aware of the huge ministry done by Sr. Norma in McAllen. It is no surprise that many children suffer from post-traumatic disorder.
In the parish Masses that I celebrate, I find a way to “remember the children.” We must never forget them. But something is terribly wrong about the reality I describe. Human dignity should be a reality for us all.
It is difficult to know what to think about all of this. We need wisdom. I am happy for those who have jobs. But what is the real price to society?