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Immigration at the Roots: A Tour with Advocate and Former Migrant Jaqueline Garcia

Witness for Peace is hosting migrant advocate and former undocumented immigrant Jaqueline Garcia of Mexico for a tour in the Great Lakes Region and Long Island in Fall 2011.

A former undocumented immigrant to the United States, Jaqueline is an advocate and organizer working in Veracruz, Mexico with the Jesuit Migrant Service.

Jaqueline will be visit Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Long Island from October 16 - November 7, 2011. Click here to find an event in your area.

Jaqueline has worked tirelessly in migrant sending communities while also providing humanitarian support for migrants who are taking the dangerous journey northward. Most recently, she led 120 local volunteers through an intensive training program on how to create strong migrant support committees along a significant stretch of “la Bestia,” the deadly train that many thousands of Central American migrants ride northward each year in search of jobs and better lives for their families.

Because Veracruz has become an important sending region for migrants, Jaqueline's work has also been to help strengthen those communities left behind by organizing empowerment and support programs for women and families of migrants.

“Migration has always been present in my life: my father left town when I was four years old and never returned. My mother left me and my brother with my grandparents to search for him, but never heard from him again.”

At the age of 16, she joined her mother and brother in migrating to California as an undocumented immigrant, where she worked a number of low-wage jobs and became interested in service. She returned to Mexico and worked for several years as a catholic missionary in some of the country's poorest areas.

After studying social psychology and later a Master's Degree in social sciences, she joined the Jesuit Migrant Service and began to see migration in a new light.

“I read books, studies, and articles about migration and ended up reading my own story: I am the daughter of migrants and bear the marks and emotional costs that are left by my father's absence. I am a witness to the unfinished story my mother began to live as the wife of a migrant.”

Her work has allowed her to “gain the tools to reconstruct myself as a girl, as a young woman, and as a woman, to understand the loneliness my mother lived through. In community work I have been able to revalue and accept the challenges that migration has placed on my path.”

October 16: 10:45am College Mennonite Church, Goshen
October 18: Evening event with the City Bloomington Hispanic and Latino Affairs Commission
October 19: 12:15pm Butler University Global and Historical Studies "Pizza Chats"
October 21: 10:00am Goshen College morning chapel service
October 23: 11:00am Kern Road Mennonite Church, South Bend
October 23: 7:30pm Hanover College
October 24: Earlham College

October 17: Lunch event at Ohio Wesleyan University
October 17: 6:00pm University of Akron
October 20: Evening event at Oberlin College
October 25: Evening event at University of Mount Union
October 29: Evening event at the Cleveland Immigrant Support Network

October 26: 10:40am Wayne State University
October 26: 5:30pm Eastern Michigan University
October 27: 4:00pm University of Detroit Mercy

Long Island:
Contact Todd Miller (toddmiller70 (at) for details

For more information about this tour, contact Jess Hunter-Bowman at jess (at)