As the number of immigrants coming into the respite center in McAllen continues to grow, so does the need for more resources.
The construction of a new respite center in downtown McAllen is underway, as members from Catholic Charities of the RGV and city leaders broke ground for the new facility.
Since 2014, Catholic Charities of the RGV has used the parish hall from Sacred Heart Church to serve as the respite center, where more than 65,000 immigrants have been helped.
Sister Norma Pimentel, “I’ve always been concerned about the fact that the parish needs their parish hall, and so it has always been something that I’ve been talking about, and wanting to see how can we do this so that we can let the parish have its hall back.”
Officials say the construction of the new center will cost around $1 million. McAllen’s mayor says, regardless of the cost, it’s still important to keep helping the immigrants coming in.
Mayor Jim Darling said, “This is a humanitarian effort. It’s an extension of the process. All the people coming through are just as legal as everybody else, pending an asylum hearing.
An opening day is still not set for the new respite center, but city leaders are planning on transforming an empty lot, into an 18,000 square foot two-story building.
Sister Norma Pimentel, “It’s going to be a very simple, big open space. Much larger than what we have right now. We won’t have the tents, the showers, and all that stuff outside. We are going to have that inside.
Since last month, the respite center has been receiving nearly 300 people per day, and those numbers don’t seem to be coming down anytime soon.
City leaders want to start construction for the new respite center at the beginning of next year.