VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2               HUMAN RIGHTS NEWSLETTER                    OCTOBER 2014
The collaborative Cemetery Map Project is on hold. The leaders of the project, and our friends, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, EAAF, is in Mexico looking for 43 college students who disappeared September 26, 2104, after a clash with police that left 3 students and 3 bystanders dead. A mayor and his wife, as well as the cartel and police, appear to have been involved in the incident.

In the process of looking for the students, a mass grave was found on October 5, 2014, containing at least 28 burned and decomposing bodies.  The DNA of these persons did not match any of the students.  

So how many more such graves are there?  How many more disappeared?

Another recent event: The bodies of 3 US citizens were found just across the border in Mexico. Again the state seems to operate with impunity.

Are you aware of 3 recent massacres in Mexico?  San Fernando, Tamaulipas, August 2010, San Fernando, Tamaulipas, March 2011, Nuevo Leon, Cadereyta, May 2012?

Let us not doubt the stories of violence and threats of those seeking asylum in the U.S.

Let us hope that the missing students are still alive.

Let us pray for families who are searching for answers and for leaders of peace and justice.


The STHRC hosted the 16th annual  Antorcha of Our Lady of Guadalupe as it passed through Falfurrias, TX.  A torch with a large traditional painting of Our Lady is moving from Mexico City to New York City. They are messengers for dignity of immigrant communities divided by the border.

The Prevention of Migrant Death's Working Group has been the strongest resource of organizers and volunteers of the STHRC since the STHRC founding one year ago. The STHRC is now in the process of becoming its own entity, while remaining connected to its PMDWG members. PMDWG continues to do grassroots fundraising for STHRC.

The two groups met in Houston on September 27 for separate and joint strategic planning. The groups agreed to deliberately collaborate on 4 projects including:  The Cemetery Mapping Project, work with missing migrants and family members, policy issues and volunteers-delegations-events.

The STHRC is in the process of attaining its own 501(c)(3) and is recruiting a Board of Directors composed of human rights advocates.




Olga is still being held in the Falfurrias Detention Center. The lawyer of the alleged coyote has asked for a continuance.  Olga has not yet given her deposition. It is still possible for Olga to be deported. Thelma Garcia is working with Olga and her lawyer to prevent this.

At the present time, Eddie and Sr. Pam cannot participate in real time search / rescue / recovery because of the private ranches. We do, however, provide valuable info to those who can search, such as the sheriff and some members of the Texas Guard who are deployed specifically for these purposes.  

Family members of missing border crossers call us at the STHRC to look for those who are missing in our area.  We get details of the journey and attempt to find the path taken through the indistinguishable desert and deep brush.  Whether a search team is deployed depends on how well a search area can be defined.

Recently, Eddie submitted our work on missing persons Julio (El Salvador), Florencio (Mexico) and Dani (Guatemala) to the sheriff who is the funnel to the Texas Guard who will set up a search zone. As of yet they, and Florencio's seven missing companions, have not been found.

To pursue a pathway of travel for those who are missing, the STHRC needs extremely detailed maps. Map markers would include locations and features of ranches; locations and types of roads and trails; locations and types of fences; locations of windmills, power line wires, towers, pipelines; descriptions of ranch buildings and homes, types of landscape and pools of water... to name a few.

Eddie is working with a map making company which can provide intricate detail in a 42 inch x 60 inch map.  The company is giving the STHRC a discounted price of $400. Please click here to contribute to this necessity.

In addition, Sr. Pam is in the process of creating a Google Map that indicates where the 42 STHRC water stations (blue) are in relation to the 333 locations where the remains of deceased border crossers (red) have been found to date in Brooks County since 2011.  Our hope is that the ranchers will see that water stations are needed within the boundaries of their ranches and not just along access roads.

Sr. Pam has completed the paperwork and preparation necessary to visit the women being held in the Falfurrias Detention Center. She is in the process of scheduling her first visit.  

Sr. Pam is reading the 2012 ABA Civil Immigration Detention Standards and the 
2013 Performance-Based National Detention Standards released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  o prepare.  

Besides visiting those who are being held in detention, especially those without visitors and Olga, it is the hope of the STHRC that greater trust and collaboration can be built with the leaders and officers of the detention facility through this interaction.

Sr. Pam's first area of focus will be the Classification and Placement Process.

$150-Joyce Wilkinson

$20-A widow's mite

$100-Scott Cowley

$500-Marina Basseas and Family

$50-Frances Farenthold

$100-Houston Peace and Justice Center

$100 Bruce and Kristine Bair

$50-Michelle and Jorge Quintero Millan

$50-Henry Franco-Salinas

$1,000-St. Michael the Arch
Angel Church, Clearwater, FL

$50-H.E.B. Falfurrias, TX

$500 Cathy and Stephen Bazeley



STHRC Board Members' Planning Meeting

   Pantoum: Song of a Borderland

   by Robin Carstensen


   Xochitl works in Juarez making wall art

for a chain of eateries all across Texas.

On weekends, she cleans houses of middle-income

America, when the BP isn't cracking down


with their new chain-link fencing across Texas

and the Rio Grande, where houses are wide

and far apart. When the BP is cracking down,

she packs her life in water-sealed containers,


braves the Rio Grande, to houses wide and far apart.

I've slept between their walls, on my family goose-downs,

while she packs her life in water-sealed containers,

and wades across the river to the other side of town.


She takes her son, leaves her home and comadres.

When factories in Juarez cut her wage, she has to find

The Pass, El Paso, bridge to el otro lado del rio,

past Sacred Hearts, abandoned Sabbath afternoons.


When the factories in Juarez cut wages, she goes

to find work and livelihood while conjunto's violins

sing the sacred hearts of the abandoned afternoon,

and Mariachis thrum accordions like cicada wings


in search of work and food; the bows on their violins

quiver in the autumn breeze, in the Juarez noon.

Mariachis thrum accordions like cicada wings,

while old mestizos strum rancheros de los Sue�os,


quivering in the autumn breeze, in the Juarez noon,

rumors waver thick and tall of vigilantes and more fences.

Old mestizos strum rancheros de los Sue�os

their cantos rise like mango moons above the river.


Rumors waver thick and tall of vigilantes building fences.

The truth is I met Xochitl years ago. I bear her song

like a ghost in the middle, caught by driftwood on the river.

Neither one of us or anyone we love would have this fence


or shape of human blood and fire fanning into song

clambering wire mesh, metal barb and spire.

Either one of us or anyone we love given half a chance

would pull it down, push the weight of pang and bone


over rolling wire mesh, metal barb and spire,

over pipe and brick, beneath the ground; lashing flame

in the human chest would burn it down, push the weight

of pang and bone, or dig a border up by root and scar.


Acknowledgement: "Pantoum: Song of a Borderland" first appeared in 
Weber: The Contemporary West.
Spring/Summer 2011. Volume 27. Issue 2

Robin Carstensen has won annual poetry awards from Many Mountains Moving: a Journal of Diverse and Contemporary Voices, So to Speak: a Feminist Journal of Language and Art, and The Atlanta Review. Recent work is published in Southern Humanities Review and Georgetown Review, and forthcoming in BorderSenses.  Her poems also appear online at Connotation PressZ�calo Public Square, and Terrain.org:a Journal of the Built and Natural Environments, where she received finalist in the award-winning journal on issues of sustainability.



Rescuing Regina by Josephe Marie Flynn, SSND  It is the true story of how an asylum seeker and young mother of two, her husband, a feisty nun, a pit bull lawyer, a parish, and a group of volunteers set aside political differences to galvanize a movement to save Regina.  Their struggle reveals the vast underbelly of injustice in America's harsh detention, deportation and arbitrary asylum process. 
Immigration a Human Cause (10/19/14) The Monitor