The week of November 19 was a memorable one for the 7 of us that went on a mission to El Paso at the call of the Archbishop. He asked churches in the city to ask for volunteers to go to St Charles Pastoral Center.
We were to go assist those already there providing ser-vices to the immigrants that ICE delivers from Juarez Border via bus everyday, once they depart from “the refrigerator” as they call it. These are individuals claim-ing asylum from countries like Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mex-ico, and once ICE releases and clears them, which can take 3-5 days, they send them to St Charles Semi-nary.
Some may wait 2 weeks before they are released; they are kept outdoors and are given one frozen Bur-rito a day and in the evening they’re brought indoors with up to 30 people to a room to sleep and are given one sheet of aluminum foil to cover. No baths, no change of clothes, no food.
At the Seminary, we processed them after reviewin their paperwork, and contacted their sponsor so arrangements could be made to send them to their destination either by air or bus, depending on distance. The sponsor pays for their transportation and makes all arrangements. Fortunately, the Seminary is equipped with clothing, linens, bath essentials provided by do-nations. Once they are pro-cessed, we pass them on get their essentials: to shower, to have dinner and make up their beds. The stories, scars, tears, illnesses people showed up with were unbe-lievable.
One of my Vice-Presi-dents, Celiz Benitez Kiger joined me, and I tried to get hold of
El Paso LULACERs but was unsuccessful.
I cannot express the gener-osity the Catholic Archbish-ops, Priests, Nuns, Catholic Charities, The Protestant Churches, The Jewish Con-gregation, and volunteers have given to ensure a hu-mane process is taking place for these individuals who have nothing. I was ex-tremely proud to have been a part of 7 who went from San Antonio on this very rewarding mission.