Reflections from the Border Part 3: Catholic Charities NY in Arizona

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

Meeting Travelers, People Like Us

The Department of Homeland Security is releasing thousands of detainees at the southern border to relieve overcrowding, overwhelming Catholic Charities agencies that serve these immigrants. The increasing stream of asylum seekers is expected to continue throughout the summer.

To show solidarity and provide support, Catholic Charities NY deployed a team of staff volunteers to help one of our sister agencies in Arizona.  The need is both great and varied as the local Catholic Charities agencies are inundated.

Our volunteers are sharing their insights and updates. 

Today we publish the first of two eyewitness reports by Richard Espinal.  As Catholic Charities NY’s associate director of parish and community engagement, Richard brought to Arizona his expertise supporting varied groups to meet varied needs through our social and community development department.  Now in Arizona, he is sharing the special insights this expertise offers.  Please check out the first of his two reports.


By Richard Espinal

It's been a long week and I have to admit that as much as I'm ready to go home, there's a part of me that wants to stay, because I know the need is so great. This past week, we received well over 500 travelers - Pregnant moms, single dads, couples, children of all ages, elderly grandmothers - essentially, people like us.

And perhaps, I'm being egotistical but I wonder if another group of volunteers will be as committed as the Catholic Charitiesof NY team was this past week? Will they greet these travelers as warmly? Work as hard to reach their family members? Ease their fears as they board a bus traveling across the country?

I am sure they will. The truth is that the great people of Tucson and beyond, have been wonderfully generous with their time and resources. This whole week there's been a steady flow of volunteers and donations. The travelers see it and they appreciate it.

And I cannot describe the transformation that occurs from when they first arrive, it's like their bodies and spirits, are covered in dirt, to when they get to the bus station, clean throughout, with tickets in hand, hearts filled with dreams and backpacks filled with hope.

A special word of thanks to all who donated, who prayed and supported us this past week and ask that you not let up. Please continue to give, to pray and work for a more just and dignified response to the humanitarian crisis and its underlying causes.

Read the full series here.


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