Humanitarian Response on the US-Mexico Border
Ciudad Nueva is a faith-rooted 501(c)3 public charity embedded for the last 15 years in central El Paso's Rio Grande neighborhood striving to cultivate hope and an environment where immigrant youth and families are empowered for a successful future. Given our strategic location on the border and motivated by the challenges currently facing our region we have incubated a separate initiative, Abara (was temporarily operating as El Paso Encounters), in order to respond to the most pressing needs of our border community, educate about the realities on the ground, and connect resources to where they are needed most. You can learn more about the work of Abara at www.abarafrontiers.org
Tens of thousands of families are fleeing from the northern triangle of Central America (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala). The underlying factors influencing this exodus are complicated but can mostly be linked to gang violence, extortion, corruption and poverty. The majority of those fleeing are making their way across Mexico and attempting to reach the border with the United States.
Upon crossing the border, families turn themselves in to U.S. authorities and request the opportunity to seek asylum. Families are detained for a short period and, if they pass the first level of scrutiny, are released with electronic ankle monitors to proceed to their destinations in the U.S. to await immigration court hearings. Asylum seekers are usually released with nothing but the clothes on their backs, often without enough money to even make a phone call. They have little knowledge of where they are, do not speak English and, without assistance, would find themselves in extremely vulnerable situations.
More recently the Migrant Protection Protocol (commonly knows as "Remain in Mexico") has caused the majority of those seeking asylum to be forced to await their court hearings in Ciudad Juarez. Currently hundreds of people each day are returned to Juarez and around 100 people each day are allowed to pursue their court hearings in the U.S.
EL PASO & CIUDAD JUAREZ RESPONSE
A loose coalition of local organizations, mostly churches, emerged over the last couple of years to provide temporary shelter in El Paso for the thousands seeking asylum and released into El Paso. Rather than allow asylum seekers to be released to the streets to fend for themselves, temporary shelters are providing intakes, phone calls to relatives to purchase bus/plane tickets, showers, food, clean clothing, a place to sleep for 1-3 nights, transportation to the bus station/airport, and food for the journey. Recently the numbers of asylum seekers released into El Paso has decreased dramatically due to more stringent enforcement of the Remain in Mexico policy.
At the same time, the numbers of asylum seekers returned to wait in Juarez has increased and there are only about 12 organizations/churches providing shelter. Instead of simply passing through town, as they do in El Paso, the number of asylum seekers needing shelter in Juarez grows each day as they are forced to return from the border. There are currently thousands of asylum seekers in Juarez awaiting court hearings. The shelters are doing all they can but they are stretched very thin and are in need of donated items and financial support.
Abara works as a supportive entity to network with shelter directors on both sides of the border, understand needs, collect & distribute donations, connect volunteers, and host groups interested in border immersion & volunteer experiences.
WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
- Pray for safety, health, comfort, hope & faith for those fleeing danger, and for the provision of immediate basic necessities.
- Shop for needed supplies through this Amazon wish list http://tinyurl.com/
EPBElistor collect and send needed supplies including travel bags, toiletry kits & items for children (see list below).
- Make a tax deductible financial contribution toward the effort by clicking on the link below. Not including shelter, it costs about $24 to provide basic needs for one family for a day, or $40 including shelter. Most of the shelters in Juarez need help paying utilities, and some are looking to renovate new facilities to expand their efforts.
- Become a fundraiser for the effort by clicking on the link below. The process is simple and easily shareable via email or social media.
- Donate or provide funding for a 15-passenger van or a pickup truck.
- Consider bringing a group to El Paso/Juarez for a Border Encounter to experience in person the realities of the US-Mexico border and better understand how to assist in the effort. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel Bags: simple backpacks, duffel bags or large totes. Nonperishable snacks, energy bars & water bottles.
Toiletry Kits: razors, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrushes, zip lock bags, hair brushes, body wash (travel size liquids).
Children's Items: coloring books, Spanish books w/ illustrations or activities, English language learning books w/ pictures, small toys, puzzles, crayons, coloring pencils, markers, children's hats.
Clothing: NEW socks, sports bras, and underwear for men (XS, S, M), women (Size 4 & 5) & children.
Mail items to: Abara, 532 E. Yandell, El Paso, TX 79902
Mail checks to: Ciudad Nueva, 810 N. Campbell, El Paso, TX 79902
(make out checks to Ciudad Nueva and write "Abara" in the memo)