Encounter with immigrants seen as ‘eye-opening’

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By Joseph Kenny

Sitting down with an immigrant who has come to America for a better life was eye-opening for Sister Joan Klass.
 
Sister Joan, who attended a "Catholic Teach-In on Migration: Creating a Culture of Encounter" June 26 with six other Sisters of the Most Precious Blood, said her group was impressed with the immigrants who attended and gave testimony during discussions in a small-group setting. "We really are impressed the immigrants are putting themselves out there," she said. "It added a very special dimension to the evening."
 
The woman she spoke with had fled a rural area of Mexico because of economic pressures that made it difficult for her and her husband and young child to survive. The trek across the border was treacherous. "They went through a terrible time, separated from their child," Sister Joan said.
 
A study led by Center for Economic and Policy Research economist Mark Weisbrot estimates that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) put almost 2 million small-scale Mexican farmers out of work, in turn driving illegal migration to the United States.