November 28, 2021

Photos: Reynosa migrant shelter expands as volunteers try to remove asylum seekers from downtown streets

McALLEN, Texas (Border report) – More than 1,000 migrants are now living safely in a church-run migrant shelter, and volunteers are working to help more families move out of the downtown plaza of the dangerous northern Mexican border town of Reynosa, learned Border Report.

Volunteers from the nonprofit Team Brownsville partnered with several migrant aid organizations that donated tents, clothing, blankets, expensive water filtration systems and helped set up places a giant shade structure to help families of asylum seekers stranded across the Rio Grande. from McAllen, Texas, due to coronavirus border restrictions.

The expansion took place in recent weeks at the ministry of Senda de Vida, a faith-based nonprofit that housed just 300 migrants. Now it has a large outdoor area at the back where several hundred more tents are now located, Brownsville Team Volunteer Coordinator Andrea Rudnik told Border Report on Tuesday.

Several nonprofits have helped expand catering areas, install a concrete base, shaded roof and other amenities at the Senda de Vida migrant shelter in Reynosa, Mexico, as seen on October 4. 2021. (Photos by Brownsville team)

Team Brownsville is the nonprofit that led donation and catering services for asylum seekers living in Matamoros, Mexico when the Trump administration implemented the “Stay in Mexico” policy. And although Reynosa geographically is over an hour’s drive from Brownsville, Rudnik says they are working to help migrants who have been turned back by customs and border protection officers and patrol officers. borders due to Title 42 border restrictions, and those in Reynosa. without a place to sleep and with few means.

“We’re some distance from Reynosa, so we can’t have a daily presence in Reynosa, but we work through other NGOs to fund projects to fund projects,” Rudnik said.

The projects include improving the bathrooms at the shelter, adding doors to the toilets, improving the water line and expanding a clothes washing area.

“All the things that need to be done and will give people a measure of more dignity,” Rudnik said.

Andrea Rudnik, a volunteer with nonprofit Team Brownsville, visited migrant children on October 4, 2021 at a Senda de Vida shelter, which her organization helped expand and provide a concrete base to prevent flooding and shade the tents. (Team Brownsville Photo)

A $ 75,000 water filtration system that had been used at the Matamoros camp was also transferred to Senda de Vida and contributes to the supply of drinking water, she added.

And perhaps the most welcome piece of equipment is a parasol that has been placed over the tents, which are now all located on a concrete base to prevent rainwater runoff and flooding.

“We wanted to fund projects that would have a lasting impact for asylum seekers,” Rudnik said.

The expansion of the Senda de Vida migrant center in Reynosa, Mexico includes clothes drying and cell phone charging stations, as well as expensive water filtration systems. (Team Brownsville Photos)

Volunteers from groups like Angry Tias and Abuelas and Solidarity engineering helped renovate and expand and add more amenities for migrants to the shelter.

They are also working to send donations to the 1,500 asylum seekers who still live in the downtown square.

On April 26, 2021, migrants crowd the plaza in downtown Reynosa, Mexico. (Photo by Sidewalk School for Asylum Seekers)

Migrants in the square are now a mix of Central Americans from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, as well as Haitians, many of whom recently arrived by caravan from Panama, and more currently en route.

Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, recently met with Mexican immigration officials who showed her around other possible locations in Reynosa for the migrant camp.

Pimentel told Border Report on Tuesday “we are trying to finalize” a location.

The Biden administration has announced that restrictions on overland travel will be lifted on November 8 and that overland ports of entry will be open to vaccinated travelers.

However, officials from the Department of Homeland Security told Border Report that Title 42 restrictions will remain in place for migrants attempting to cross the border at locations other than legal entry points, and they will not be allowed to enter the United States under this public health law.

Sandra Sanchez can be contacted at [email protected]

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