El Paso, Texas (KVIA) -- Motivated by faith and kindness, Crystal Sandoval, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Las Americas Immigrant and Advocacy Center, extends a helping hand to migrants seeking asylum in the United States. I had the opportunity to sit down with the Borderland native. I asked her what motivated her to help families seeking a better life in the U.S. She immediately replied that she's focused on generating lasting change through humanitarian work.
As a child, she knew that she cared about people and would seek out tasks assigned by her mother so that she could help around the house. Crystal said, "It's the best gift I can give someone." Growing up in Juarez and El Paso, she was exposed to many Latino cultures and has grown accustomed to migration.
Although her kindness began as a young girl, she didn't understand the power she had to help others until she became a mother. She remembers when she knew she wanted to help migrants and their families. Crystal was a new Mom, a housewife; she had an epiphany while listening to a podcast. She explained, "I was listening to a podcast about family separation and wanted to help in any way." That she did she started working for Las Americas, a nonprofit organization based in El Paso, Texas. The immigration center offers free and low-cost legal services to immigrants and refugees. The organization has been helping families since the 1980s. Crystal has found herself walking with single mothers, fathers, and families, searching for a better life. "Anyone that tries to survive, whatever they're trying to survive from. It's remarkable the lengths they go to and their hope". She said.
Her goal is to help immigrants get through the system effectively. Crystal and Las Americas help migrants in a variety of ways. They offer services to individuals and families by providing food, shelter, basic needs, and legal representation. Their duties and services change on a day-to-day basis.
Marisa Limón Garza, the executive director of Las Americas, describes her as a tireless advocate for human rights. She is volunteering her time and collaborating with area nonprofits daily. Limon said she goes above and beyond to meet everyone's needs. Sandoval is not taking all the credit for her humanitarian work. She credits her colleagues and friends at Las Americas and applauds them for their hard work and for helping her succeed. "There's not a time that I can't call a colleague on Saturday and say hey, I need help. If it's not them, it's someone else." She said.
She firmly believes that the combined efforts of human rights experts, working together over time, will help make positive change at the border. She's focused on making a difference and determined to set an example for her daughter. Crystal said she is "passionate and wants to change the world little by little."
If you know someone that is making a difference in the Borderland community, please nominate them here: Do-Gooder - El Paso Community Foundation (epcf.org)