A surge of migrants from Central America making their way to the Rio Grande Valley, many of them arriving with only the shirts on their back.
Now local shelters across the valley are stepping in to help.
As we continue our partnership with UTRGV-TV, communications student Marisol Villarreal brings us this story.
At the start of the year, Customs and Border Protection has seen an increase in migrants seeking asylum in the United States. But as those numbers continue to increase, so do the shelters that are trying to lend a helping hand.
In Brownsville, asylum seekers who are waiting for their right to a fair trial in court are dropped off by CBP. Various cultures are coming together at one place.
“And once that’s taken place, the people are brought here,” said Marianela Ramirez-Watson, a volunteer board member at Good Neighbor Settlement Housing. Ramirez-Watson is in charge of making sure migrants are well taken care of.
“We register them here, and we give them hygiene kits, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, diapers, wipes, shoelaces, whatever they need,” She said.
Ramirez-Watson tells UTRGV-TV that before CBP reached out to them, the Good Neighbor Settlement House sheltered the homeless. Now with the recent influx of migrants entering the U.S., they share the same home.
“And none of them have their services taken away or can say they’re not getting all the services they always have. That’s a big misconception. They get three meals a day here, they can shower here every day, five days a week and get a clean set of clothes. We have a clinic, and everything is free,” she continued.
CBP drops off buses with asylum-seekers during times that the Good Neighbor Settlement House doesn’t have many volunteers around. Random surges of migrants can overcrowd the house.
Ramirez-Watson is asking for the public’s help.
“We wish we could get more volunteers in the afternoon between the hours of one and six. And on the weekends, we’ll be needing Saturday and Sunday volunteers so if you work during the week and want something to do on a Saturday and Sunday, please come join us!”
The good neighbor settlement house is still currently allowing for the public to donate snacks and other food items.