October 23, 2014
By Dawn Cherie Araujo, staff writer, Global Sisters Report
Sister of Mercy Marlene Perrotte is all too familiar with violence causing thousands of Central Americans to flee their countries: in the ‘80s when guerilla groups like the Sendero Luminoso were terrorizing Peru, she was there serving as a Maryknoll associate. She’s also worked with the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, providing legal services to unaccompanied minors on the Mexico-U.S. border.
Today, she’s working with the American Immigration Lawyers Association to provide legal aid for the hundreds of Central American women and children being detained in Artesia, New Mexico. She preps detainees for their credible fear interviews – interviews with a judge to determine if an immigrant reasonably faces torture if they’re returned to their country – and she helps them fill out asylum applications. Although the Central American refugee crisis has largely fallen off the media map, Sister Marlene says we still need to pay attention.
Q: What initially drew you to Artesia?
It was knowing that these women were not part of a criminal movement, but that they truly are refugees. They are fleeing violence that cannot be controlled in their country and protecting their rights and especially protecting the lives of their children, but they don’t have any due process. I felt a very moral and ethical responsibility to do what I can, especially since my government has been so ruthless in the face of the extreme violence that they were fleeing. Read More