Stories of Immigration

Blog by Sr. Janice Thome, OP

Why would anyone risk their life and the lives of their children to come to the United States?

The guerillas in their country came to take dad with them. He said he could not kill anyone.  They gave him 24 hours to rethink it.  He would go with them or they would kill him.  They left the country that night.

Mother at her restaurant job witnessed an attempted assassination of a wealthy customer whose bodyguards fought them but some were killed.  Mother knew that witnesses are killed so they cannot testify.  She ran out the back door but one of the assassins followed her.  When he caught up with her he held the gun pointed at her nose for a full 10 minutes.  She prayed that God would save her for the sake of her 3 children.  She doesn’t know why but he went away without killing her.  The couple knew that if he ever saw her she would be dead because he memorized her face.

Their son was born with spina bifida and in their country, that meant he would never go to school and be seen as an invalid all his days.  They came so he could get an education like his brothers and get services that allowed him to be independent.


When the 6-year-old girl next door was gang-raped and left almost dead in the alley, it was the last straw in the rising crime rate in their country.  They wanted to save their 5-year-old daughter from the same fate and their 13-year-old son from being forced into a gang or killed if he resisted.


As a poor woman who was a victim of domestic violence, she knew that in her country she had no recourse.  (In the ‘50s in the US we had no laws either.)  When her husband almost choked her and began hitting their 2-year-old daughter, she began to consider coming to the US to join some of her siblings.  Then her husband threatened to take their daughter and disappear.  She could not bear to think of the abuse their daughter would suffer.


Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

9 responses to “Stories of Immigration

  1. Janice your story is real and I know you listen to many more just like it. It brings it into reality for me. Not just news on T.V. that we can’t always trust.

  2. The immigrants that have the courage to leave, need our companionship on the journey. Thanks Janice for sharing. Thanks Janice for your work.

  3. There are so many horrific stories of immigrants and others living in countries that disrespect life. Let us pray not only for these but also our own citizens who suffer abuse of all kinds. Thanks, Janice.

  4. Thank you, Janice, for sharing these painful stories with us, and even more for your presence to so many in trauma. Yu are indeed the face of God.

  5. Janice, your stories are so sad! I think they want to come because more and more of the are being killed in these other countries. What a gift you are to countless people who try everything they can to get to the US. Bless you, Janice! Sr. Celeste

  6. Thank you Sister Janice for sharing the immigrants stories and being an advocate or all immigrants. God’s blessing to you.

  7. Thanks, Janice. Your anecdotes make real the thousands who come to our border. Very few want to relocate from all that is near and dear unless dire circumstances encircle and suffocate them.

  8. Janice, thank you for sharing the difficult stories that help us comprehend the realities that compel ordinary moms and dads to risk everything for the life of their children.

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