U.S. Sends Migrants from Southern Border to Churches in Denver, Dallas

Children at First Unitarian Society of Denver in this photo by Sesil Lan. The American Friends Service Committee helped coordinate housing in places of worship.

Children at First Unitarian Society of Denver in this photo by Sesil Lan. The American Friends Service Committee helped coordinate housing in places of worship.

Even as the Trump Administration says it’s considering sending thousands of migrants to a Florida that says it’s unprepared for such numbers, U.S. authorities are already sending migrants arriving at the nation’s southern border to interior parts of the country.

Authorities are flying migrants to less crowded facilities for processing and busing some asylum-seeking families to Denver and Dallas, where churches are planning to house and feed them. So many people in Denver wanted to help the new arrivals that the churches and other organizations had to turn away would-be volunteers.

Separately, Customs and Border Patrol was flying other migrants from the Rio Grande Valley to other centers for processing.

What’s important to note about this is that faith-based communities have been hugely important in serving refugees as they arrive in this country. They work closely with U.S.-State-Department sanctioned resettlement agencies—most of which are also faith-based—in resettling refugees. Refugee arrival numbers have been dwindling since the start of the Trump Administration. That’s intensely distressing because more people are fleeing conflict and crisis in numbers unmatched since World War II. This is doubly frustrating because so many Americans are eager to help .

Just as the observant and the secular came together to help refugees who flooded Europe in 2015, the current crisis at our southern border could prompt congregations across the country and their non-profit and secular partners to mobilize and help those fleeing conflict and violence in Central America.

Denver and Dallas are not the only cities hosting migrants and asylum seekers. In New York, Catholic Charities is providing for 3,000 unaccompanied minors and expects that number to double by October;

Beds awaiting arrivals at Casa del Paz, a Denver non-profit helping migrants.

Beds awaiting arrivals at Casa del Paz, a Denver non-profit helping migrants.

Kate Rice