Ruben Garcia sought his mission in life. He found it helping the 'poorest of the poor'
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.
One of the sisters explains what Annunciation House means to them. "We really need their help – food, lawyers, information. In Durango, there wouldn't be help like this," she says. They have been told it might take five or 10 years to be granted asylum.
"It's extremely difficult to get legal representation" if you are a Mexican immigrant, Garcia says. Legal services for Mexican immigrants in his area are so backed up that he's sent five families to other states for help.
On his speaking tours Garcia is outspoken about immigration issues, and he's held vigils for those murdered in Ciudad Juárez. "My focus is on the absurdity of immigration policies," he says. The need for "Annunciation House is a reflection of [failed US] immigration policy."