Cristina Parker, communications director of the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, says that the people of El Paso are "not touched directly by the violence in [Ciudad] Juárez, but we're touched emotionally. Where Annunciation House makes a difference is in bridging the gap in a healing way."
The stories of those staying at the house paint a vivid picture. Two young sisters from Durango, Mexico, speak almost inaudibly, still grieving, as they tell why they fled their home.
In May, one of their brothers was shot and killed, and the Mexican police did nothing. Later another brother was tortured and was afraid to tell anybody who did it as he lay dying.
The sisters suspect that the police were involved in these killings because a police car led a group of vehicles that followed two other brothers on one occasion.
The two women are afraid these killings are related to their having been kidnapped by a group of men before their brothers were killed. They were beaten and sexually abused and were told that they couldn't tell anybody about it or their family would be killed.
"Luxury vehicles" surrounded the cemetery during one brother's funeral, so their mother decided the family should flee to the United States. The two sisters, with their husbands and two children, made it to the US border and requested asylum, presenting the death certificates of their brothers. They were directed to Annunciation House by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. The rest of the family was not allowed to enter despite two or three tries.