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Hundreds of Migrants Released by US Customs Need Assistance in Southwest


Photo Credit: Mitch Lensink

by John-Mark de Palma

Recently, NPR reported that upwards of 400 migrants are released daily to the streets of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley by U.S. Customs and Border Protection leaving the local government and charities scrambling to lend aid. By way of comparison, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande’s Good Neighbor Settlement House normally assist a few dozen migrants daily. The recent influx is a result of an overload in Customs and Border Protection facilities, where families were previously held for 72 hours before turning them over to ICE. Now, the migrants are processed and released directly into the U.S.

The overcrowding of migrants has resulted in Customs and Border Protection bussing asylum seekers to shelters and to Catholic Charities facilities, complete with paperwork, names of relatives in the United States, and information on court appearances – which are often months away. The challenge facing many is poor health from the crossing and the lack of housing, food, clothing, and other necessities. According to NPR and Brownville, Texas mayor Tony Martinez, it is expected that 6,000 migrants are expected to cross the Rio Grande Valley this week.

ICE director Gregory Archambault commented to TIME recently that, “Everybody is stressed. The agency is stressed, the (local governments) are stressed, the law enforcement agencies. Everybody is stressed because there are these mass numbers of people.”

To adress the migrant crisis, Catholic Charities New York will be deploying a contigent of case managers to assist sister agencies working on the migrant overflow in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Resources:

Accessing Legal Help | Catholic Charities of New York

Free legal services for low-income, vulnerable immigrants | Catholic Charities Pro Bono Project

Welcoming and Integrating Immigrants and Refugees | Catholic Charities of New York
 

Related Content:

Shelters And City Governments Scramble To Help Migrants In The Rio Grande Valley | NPR

U.S. Expands 'Catch and Release' as Border Towns Struggle With Influx of Migrants | TIME

With Detention Space Full at the Texas Border, Migrants get Court Dates and a Pass into the U.S. | AP

Border at ‘Breaking Point’ as More Than 76,000 Unauthorized Migrants Cross in a Month | New York Times