Many of you have asked how you can help Central American refugees throughout the border region. Below is a list that the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) has compiled of places where you can donate supplies, volunteer your time, or make a financial contribution to support the refugees, most of whom are mothers and children, who are arriving with little more than the clothes on their back. Our border communities are opening our hearts and lending what help we can, but the need is great and your support is extraordinarily important.
The refugees are arriving to the border and presenting themselves to border agents (they are not attempting illegal entry) and are seeking humanitarian relief from life-threatening danger in their home countries. Though most are arriving in Texas, many are now being transported immediately to other parts of the border to be processed. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents throughout the border are processing the refugees into their system and issuing them Notices to Appear (NTA) in court. Everyone will have their day in court to pursue any and all possible humanitarian claims, which could include asylum, visas for victims of human trafficking or violent crimes, or other relief. Legal service providers are gearing up to represent them with support from new funding from the Justice Corps.
Once issued an NTA, refugees are turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which makes a custody determination. If the refugees have no criminal record and have a family or sponsor that can take them in, then they are released from custody either under their Own Recognizance (OR) or, in limited cases, with payment of a bond. They are directed to report to ICE within a certain number of days in the jurisdiction of their destination where they will be scheduled for court. Upon release from ICE, the organizations below are providing temporary shelter, travel assistance, and other assistance that these families might need.
Here are the ways that you can help.
- Donate to San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC)
- Learn more about what is happening in California here: http://immigrantsandiego.org/2014/07/03/sdirc-assist-central-american-refugees/
- Donate to Border Action Network
- Donate to Catholic Charities
- Learn more about what is happening in Arizona here: http://borderaction.org/border-action-networks-tour-of-the-nogales-national-placement-center/
In New Mexico
- Donate to the Catholic Diocese Las Cruces Diocese’s Project Oak Tree
- In El Paso, donate to the Annunciation House
- In Rio Grande Valley, donate to South Texas Refugee Response
- Learn more about what is happening in Texas here: https://alongsideaborder.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/children-at-the-gates/
Background on what is happening in Central America: