by Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, El Paso Matters
September 21, 2023
Migrants who’ve risked their lives traversing through dangerous jungle and hitching rides on top of cargo trains to Ciudad Juárez are lining up daily along the border wall to present themselves to U.S. Border Patrol – and get the chance at a new life in the United States.
Many of them leave behind homes in Latin America that are suffering from economic collapse, government corruption and paramilitary violence.
The U.S. Border Patrol in the El Paso sector, which spans El Paso County and all of New Mexico, is encountering more than a thousand migrants on a daily basis, according to the city’s data. Last week the city of El Paso used federal funds to shelter more than 700 people in hotel rooms as nongovernment organizations reached shelter capacity. The city also set up an emergency shelter at Nations-Tobin Recreation Center in Northeast El Paso.
While most migrants want to pass through El Paso and onto their desired destination, many don’t have the resources to pay for plane or bus tickets out of the city or for basic necessities such as food, water and medication.
Community organizations are once again mobilizing to provide humanitarian aid during their stay in El Paso. If you want to help, here’s how you can.
This volunteer-led organization provides shelter and support to migrants and refugees. The organization takes monetary donations and is in need of volunteers in particular. Short-term volunteers from outside of town must commit to a minimum of two weeks of service. Local volunteers do not have a minimum time commitment.
Sacred Heart Church
The parish in South El Paso is providing meals and letting people spend the night in its shelter, located south of the Greyhound bus station near the Chihuahuita neighborhood. The church is seeking volunteers every day during various morning, afternoon, evening and overnight shifts.
El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank
El Paso’s food bank needs volunteers to help assemble meals for migrants. The nonprofit is putting together sack lunches to distribute in Downtown El Paso and other locations twice a day. Most volunteer work will take place at the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger warehouse in the Lower Valley at 9541 Plaza Circle. Other volunteer work will take place in the streets to distribute meals.
Hope Border Institute and Diocese of El Paso
The Catholic Diocese of El Paso and the Hope Border Institute, a faith-based organization, started a fund to meet the humanitarian needs of migrants stuck in limbo in Juárez. Hope Border Institute’s health clinic takes in doctors and medical students who want to volunteer at Leona Vicario, a migrant shelter in Juárez.
Visit the Diocese’s website to find out how to donate by check or online.
Rescue Mission of El Paso
This faith-based charity and homeless shelter provides a roof and meals to migrants, according to the organization’s website, which also lists supplies in need. People can bring or mail donations to 221 N. Lee St. in El Paso. Visit the Rescue Mission’s website if you have additional questions.
Opportunity Center for the Homeless
This nonprofit organization serves people who are experiencing homelessness in El Paso, including migrants. Learn more online about how to donate funds or goods.
This nonprofit partners with migrant shelters on both sides of the border to assist with most in-demand items. Abara manages a donation warehouse and coordinates deliveries to shelters. Make a donation via Amazon Wish List.
Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services, Inc.
This immigration legal aid clinic serves low-income immigrants and refugees residing in the southwestern United States. The vast majority of clients receive their services for free. You can donate to the organization online.
Southwest Asylum and Migration Institute
Founded by immigration attorney Nancy Oretskin, the nonprofit provides low-cost to free legal services. The organization has worked with Annunciation House to host workshops guiding migrants through the process of requesting asylum. People can send monetary donations to SAMI, 1816 Anita Dr., Las Cruces, New Mexico 88001.
Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center
Founded in 1987, Las Americas is a nonprofit based in El Paso that provides legal services to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The organization has helped migrants in Juárez register for the asylum process through the CBP One App. People can apply to volunteer or make a monetary donation.
Disclosure: El Paso Matters CEO Robert Moore is a board member for El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank. Moore was not involved in the reporting or editing of this story.