Dear Editor of Amjambo Africa,

Recently Maine’s 488th Military Police Company returned home after deployment to the southern border. They replaced Maine’s 262nd Engineer Company. They were aiding the ever increasing surveillance operations by Customs and Border Protection. It is confusing why Maine would send troops to a militarized border when what is needed is humanitarian and legal assistance. Governor Mills supported their deployment and thanked them for keeping Maine safe. Safe from what? She didn’t say.

Friends who live on the border share information and explain the fear, pain, and uncertainty many who are trying to enter experience as they grapple with the changes the Biden administration made including the parole program for Nicaragua, Haiti, Cuba, and Venezuela as well as the continuation of Title 42. Many doubted that Covid was the real reason for Title 42 and we can clearly see now that it was never about the pandemic. 

Wall and surveillance tower. Nogales, Sonora | Josh Rubin

Communities along the border send out pleas for help as they struggle to accommodate all who are in need of shelter, food, clothing, medicine, and travel assistance. As many shelters are often full, new makeshift or informal shelters are popping up. These have serious safety issues and often lack proper protections from the elements. Those who are unable to find shelter are in the streets where it is unsafe and temperatures continue to hover at or below freezing. Volunteers and organizations try to help but it’s not enough. In border communities from Texas to California humanitarian and legal organizations are working as hard as they can to increase humanitarian aid, shelter space, and organize necessary travel. We can’t help but wonder where the federal and international aid organizations are. Where are Maine’s Congressional representatives on this? 

El Paso, Texas | Sue-Ann DiVito 

Our country’s lack of a humane response is something we should be deeply ashamed of. As a citizen of the United States, I feel this is one of the largest moral issues of our time. While here in Maine and all along the border organizations and individuals are doing immense and important work addressing the needs, our country is failing miserably. 

Mary Dunn