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Human rights activists in El Paso help accommodate migrants seeking asylum

As more and more migrants continue to make their way into the borderland, various locations around El Paso are opening their doors in an effort to keep people off the streets.

The Centro Juan Diego, owned by the Catholic Diocese and located in Sunset Heights, is one of such locations.

“This is kind of the overflow of people who would be on the streets otherwise,” says Taylor Levy, legal coordinator of the Annunciation House.

On Friday, October 26, ABC-7 was able to see a group of children playing at the center, where migrant families stay in cots. It is at churches like these where migrants are staying, due to capacity at places like the Annunciation House already being filled.

However, migrants are not the only people arriving to El Paso, as even volunteers from across the country are coming to the Sun City to provide as much help as they can give.

Nebraska nun Sister Kathleen Erickson is one such person that journeyed here to volunteer, after feeling compassion has been lost in the understandable need of border security.

“I think it’s like burning down your neighbors house and then being really angry at them for wanting to set up a tent in your backyard because there’s nowhere to go,” say’s Erickson, discussing the current climate of border security in a time when national officials work to deal with a migrant caravan making its way to the border.

Migrant shelters, such as the one at Centro Juan Diego, require a level of teamwork between local law enforcement officials and those working at the shelters to ensure migrants who seek shelter are properly taken care of.

“We still have a really good relationship with a lot of the local officers from ICE and Customs and Border Protection,” Levy describes the relationship.”A lot of them worked incredibly hard to make sure that people are treated with dignity and respect.”

Despite this, Levy acknowledges there are still improvements needed in the processes migrants go through.

“I think a lot of the issues are that it’s a larger border policy,” Levy says.

Still, volunteers like Sister Erickson feel very much connected to the people they are caring for and point out a need to understand the struggle some of these migrants face.

“if you have children that you couldn’t feed, you would go just about anywhere you need to go,” she says.

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