Preventing a Repeat of Del Rio, Texas 2021
On May 23, 2022, Title 42 is set to be lifted. The Title 42 policy, which expels people seeking asylum at the border, was enacted under the former president of the United States of America to “prevent the spread of COVID-19.” Regardless of your perspective on the migrant issue, no one wants a repeat of what happened in Del Rio, Texas, in late summer of 2021. There were thousands of adults and children who suddenly appeared en masse. No plan was in place to deal with the situation.
The US-Mexico Border runs nearly 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. It touches the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. About 700 miles of the border have some type of physical barrier; the rest is wide open. It is estimated that 5,000 migrants in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, are waiting to cross the border to enter the United States. Between 500 and 800 migrants are expected to travel through Laredo, Texas. Providing them with water, food, shelter, transportation, communication assistance, and healthcare services is vital. Just picture this scenario in the three other states with borders to Mexico.
Sister Rosemary Welsh called a meeting in Laredo, Texas, to get an update on the migrant situation and planning process. In conversation with the two local non-governmental agencies (NGOs), the Laredo Sector of Customs and Border Protection and the Sisters of Mercy, efforts are being made to engage the elected leaders of the city of Laredo and Webb County to support the preparation process. In the current circumstances, people are left in a state of limbo, living in crowded, unhealthy, and unsafe conditions. This is not a viable option. Pretending Title 42 will not be lifted is not an option. Bussing people off to other cities in the United States to make it someone else’s problem is not an option. The only option is for Laredo to prepare for the influx. We have three to four weeks to be ready for new arrivals.
There is a need for continued collaboration among local, state, and federal officials. There is also a need for border communities to be prepared with more human resources and more volunteers. If you cannot come to help at the border, we ask you to look out for the migrants in your communities. Make them feel welcome. Something as small as helping someone make a phone call to hear a loved one’s voice mean so much.
In addition to Laredo, volunteers are being sought in a number of locations.
El Paso, TX
Annunciation House has recently announced an urgent need for volunteers: “Volunteers are sorely needed to assist in providing hospitality, and ensuring that we have the capacity to offer welcome to the refugees in our community. We are deeply grateful for all of the ways you support our work; it is because of you that this is possible.” Click here for current volunteer needs.
Catholic Charities – Diocese of Laredo (processing center) Becky Solloa (956) 722-2443 Ext. 20 or (210) 323-5784 (cell)
Holding Institute Community Center, Laredo – Joe Barrón (956) 774-5645
Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, Teresa Cavendish Teresac@ccs-soaz.org (520) 670-0800
Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego, Nadine Toppozada, Director of Refugee & Immigrant Services firstname.lastname@example.org (619) 287-9454 Ext. 2159
Catholic Charities Dallas, Jari Mema, Chief Services Officer email@example.com