As Central American migrants travel to the U.S. border, residents in Rochester got together to discuss the gruesome journeys migrants endure by watching, "Dying to Live: A Migrant's Journey," at Assisi Heights Spirituality Center. They engaged in a dialogue afterwards.
Sister Ruth Snyder was one of the facilitators for the event. She knows the topic of immigration well: Snyder served 21 years as a missionary in Peru. She also volunteers at St. Francis Parish with the immigrant population. Her vast experience with immigrants from Central America makes her sympathetic to the flight migrants face.
"Seeing wonderful people, hearing their struggles of coming across the desert, of waiting the river...yes, I've heard very sad stories and stories of just heroic behavior on the part of immigrants who made that struggle to get here," Snyder said.
Other participants at the event shared her sentiments. Janet Rois, a retired resident in Rochester, once hosted four Vietnamese refugee children during the eighties.
"It was a very tough journey," Rois said. "It's not something taken lightly. These people that are coming are not just like, "Oh, I'll go to America." There's a lot of heartache in that decision."
Immigrants make up a sizeable portion of Minnesota's residents -- According to the Minnesota State Demographic Center, 1 in 12 residents are foreign-born and the biggest group of Minnesota residents born outside the U.S. were born in Mexico.