Las Cruces Church Provides Cot, Clothes and Compassion to About 200 Migrants
The mom and two teenage boys had already journeyed thousands of miles from El Salvador to the U.S.-Mexico border. They had been apprehended by Border Patrol agents, transported from detention center to detention center.
Then, 10 days after they left San Salvador, they were brought here, to a small room in Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on a July afternoon in Las Cruces.
Here, they meet with a woman who volunteered at the church to help get the family to relatives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“Cómo está?” The volunteer asked.
“Bien,” the older boy replied quietly.
Lawyers visit twice a day to ensure the migrants know their rights — they are free to travel to their families elsewhere in the country, but they must report for court hearings. Bilingual priests are on hand as well to act as counselors.
“It’s been a long journey,” she said. “They’re drained with the atrocities taking place in Central America, on the road.”
After their meal, the migrants filed into rooms to collect hygiene supplies, diapers, clothes and suitcases to store their new belongings. Mothers tried pants and bras on over their clothes, before heading to collect donated hygiene products and towels to shower. Children can choose one toy from a large box of stuffed animals. Another basket holds dozens of donated fake gold earrings for the moms.
They’ve been a hit, volunteer Toni Martinez said.
“It’s the little things they need to help them out, just to make them feel like women,” she said.
Down the hall, volunteers sat at four tables, each with a laptop, cell phone and box of tissues. Migrants visited with the volunteers to call their families across the country and book bus, train and plane tickets there. The relatives will pay for the tickets, so the mode of transportation depends on how much they can spare. Volunteers drive the migrants to the station and the El Paso airport, even escorting them through security.
Looks like they’re using unmarked vehicles to move them around.
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