14 Apr A Migrant Amputee’s Success Story
The world’s attention—for good reason—has been riveted on the crisis in Ukraine since the war started on February 24th. Millions of people have been displaced, their homes destroyed, and their lives turned upside down. Our hearts are with them and we encourage our donors to give generously to organizations helping the Ukrainians.
But we also hope you won’t forget about our mission to help Latin American migrants and refugees in Mexico. Yesterday, I received notice that a young woman named Gabriela (Gabby), who has been living at ABBA House, successfully crossed the US border thanks to the help of the staff at ABBA House, the Board of LARF and other volunteers.
Gabby lost both of her legs in a terrible train accident a year ago. After the accident she was taken to ABBA House where Abril and Ignacio helped her get the medical care she needed. Since then, they have housed and fed Gabby and her mother while volunteer lawyers worked hard to get her the humanitarian visa she needs to receive medical care in the U.S. Hence, we were all delighted when LARF board member and immigration attorney, Rebecca Eichler, emailed us to share the following story:
“I got text messages earlier today from Gabriela (Gabby) and wanted to share them with you. It was quite the process getting them this far, with a large team of immigrant rights advocates, therapists, lawyers, and helpers working to get this family into the US to seek asylum.
The plan was to meet Gabby and her mom yesterday at 7am at Leon Airport, with a good friend of mine. (With only one day’s notice, this friend had agreed to accompany the family on their flight to the border, to help them navigate the airport and to advocate on their behalf should it be necessary. Migrants are often openly discriminated against here in Mexico.)
Yesterday at 6:30am, an hour into our journey to the airport, I received multiple messages – from Abril at ABBA House, from Gabby, and from the driver who was picking them up to take them to the airport: In her last moments at ABBA, Gabby’s mother tripped while holding a glass, fell, and cut her arm. She would need twelve stitches and the family wouldn’t be making their 9am flight.
After some mad roadside travel planning and many, many minutes on the phone with Aeromexico, we came up with Plan B: The driver would take them to San Miguel and a friend volunteered to drive them to Mexico City, where they would catch the next available flight to the border. They arrived there at 6pm and were picked up by a pastor who brought them to his shelter. This morning he brought them to the border patrol office.
Because they are considered especially vulnerable due to Gabby’s double amputation, their entry visas (humanitarian paroles) were approved and they crossed into the US, where they were met by another volunteer who took them to the migrant shelter. Gabby and her mom are together, safe and sound, after an incredibly long and stressful day yesterday.”
I want to give a shout out to Rebecca for her work in making this happen, to LARF Board member, Dr. Hernan Drobny, who provided the medical evaluation integral to her visa application, and to all the volunteers and migrants shelters that stepped up to help Gabby and her mom.
Though the media’s attention has strayed from Latin American migrants, our work continues. ABBA House and LARF are working hand-in-hand to help people like Gabby and the thousands of other migrants and refugees passing through Central Mexico. Our amputee rehabilitation program is growing in leaps and bounds and Pastor Ignacio dreams of a larger, more permanent site for the program.
But we can’t do it without you. We need your help now more than ever. Please consider giving a fully tax-deductible gift today.
Judith Gille, LARF Board President.