The KINO BORDER INITIATIVE (KBI) was officially born in January of 2009 in Ambos Nogales (the twin cities on the USA-Mexico border) with the participation of six organizations of the Catholic Church from both the US and Mexico: Diocese of Tucson, Jesuit Refugee Services, Society of Jesuit Province of California, Diocese of Hermosillo, Missionaries of the Eucharist from Colima, Mexico, and the Society of Jesus Province of Mexico. KBI became a bi-national project serving migrants and the communities involved in the migration phenomenon with a primary focus on: values, human dignity, compassion, bi-national solidarity, faith in God, justice, and collaboration with others.
The KBI objective is to promote immigration policies on both sides of the US and Mexico border in favor of respect for the dignity of the migrant, as well as to foster a culture of bi-national solidarity through:
• Humanitarian aid and assistance to migrants through a banquet hall or “comedor” and a shelter for women in order to improve the situation of deported migrants in transit via Nogales, Sonora. In its’ 5 years existence KBI has served around 300,000 meals and to approximately 60,000 migrants, mostly deportees, but also those who are in transit, both national and foreign.
• Education on the immigration dilemma, with the aim of increasing migrants knowledge of the potential dangers and their human rights. KBI also seeks to raise awareness of the immigration issue to the main stream society on both sides of the border, by inviting and providing tours of the border to students and academics from various colleges and universities from throughout the United States and Mexico. The tours around the border focus on the various elements that comprise the current immigration paradigm and it is also open to groups of different Christian denominations and, above all, pastoral agents interested in the work of human rights and mobility.
• Participation in networks of collaboration in research and advocacy to raise awareness about the human dignity of the migrant from the social doctrine of the Catholic Church and human rights on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as position the immigration issue in public discourse.
To celebrate its Fifth anniversary KBI scheduled various events that took place from the 24 to 26 January. The events where a major success as many locals celebrated the Jesuit effort to promote bi-national solidarity in favor of the migrants on both sides of the border (see pictures). The highlight of the event was the keynote speaker, Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, who stressed the right to migrate with dignity.