WXXI AM News

Local Pastor Advocates for Migrant Workers

Nov 28, 2011

A local pastor says it's time for Rochester residents to become a voice for the voiceless by standing up in support of migrant workers.

Reverend Chava Redonnet is the Pastor of Oscar Romero Church in the city - she also leads a migrant ministry at an undisclosed location outside Rochester. She says immigration laws are forcing migrants to live in constant hiding and fear.

And she says with increasing raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement many migrant workers are missing, their whereabouts unknown.

Redonnet says the U-S needs a movement - similar to the Civil Rights movement - where masses of people stand up for undocumented immigrants and serve as their voice, "The image I get of my guys is that they're like those birds that build their nests on the sides of cliffs you know and any wind can come along and just blow them off. And me as their pastor I'm just sitting beside the nest and when the wind comes I catch the eggs. But because I'm doing that I can't catch anybody else's eggs - I'm just here beside this one nest."

Redonnet says there are many misconceptions about migrant workers. She says the majority are here because they can't find work in their home country so they send a large percentage of their income back to their families.

She adds in Rochester, undocumented immigrants are often working long hours on farm jobs that American-born citizens don't want.

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