Activist calls for inclusion in immigration debate


As the immigration debate continues across the United States, an activist called for inclusion in Lansing.

Sister Magdalena Silva Renteria, better known as Sister Magda, spoke at the Cristo Rey Parish Wednesday. Her goal was to paint a picture based on her own experience about what’s going on at the southern border and who the people really are, who are leaving their homes to come to the U.S.

“The message I want to share is we need to open up our hearts and our homes to all the brothers and sisters, migrant brothers and sisters, who are coming from Central America,” she said through her interpreter.

Sister Magda runs a shelter for immigrant women and children in Mexico City, people she says are fleeing their countries for a better life.

“One of the principle reasons why people flee their homelands is to save their lives,” she said. “It’s also poverty, but these things go in tandem, poverty and violence.”

Sister Magda’s visit, which included stops in Detroit, Chicago and Washington D.C., comes as the immigration debate rages on in the U.S. It also comes as President Donald Trump spoke in Texas, sharing his views on the situation at the border and migrants coming from Central America.

“They’re sending real killers, including MS-13, because they don’t want them in Houndouras, and El Salvador,” he said. “They don’t want the gangs.”

But Sister Magda vehemently disagrees with that assertion.

“We shouldn’t think that these are bad people,” she said. “They are just people who are looking for a place they can live.”

And Sister Magda called for the Lansing community to help make them feel welcome.

“Take care of them. Help them,” she said. “And find the way to integrate them into your communities.”

**A previous verision of this article misidentified the Cristo Rey Parish as the Cristo Rey Community Center. It has been corrected.

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