Photo courtesy Hazael E. Dominguez
The Diocese of El Paso is reaching out to community members for help after scores of Cuban migrants arrive in the Borderland.
Officials with the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services (DMRS) has been informed that Mexico and some Central American countries have come to an agreement to fly 3,000 to 3,500 Cubans from Central America to Northern Mexico border cities including Ciudad Juarez.
Many of the migrants have been arriving at the Houchen Community Center (609 S. Tays Street) in South El Paso, where volunteers have set up beds and tables; and are sorting through donated clothing. While donations are beginning to arrive from community members, much more help is needed.
Houchen officials say they are in dire need of toiletries and food.
In a Wednesday news release the Diocese said, “DMRS expects the majority of the Cubans have intended destinations outside of El Paso; however, 10-15% of them will not be able to continue their journey without first having a substantial stay in our area.”
Officials added, “This is a cross-faith effort and we are calling on the public’s assistance as well.”
As the only agency in El Paso that can process these applications, DMRS is working diligently to plan for processing of these migrants.
Limited staffing due to lack of funding has severely inhibited how many Cubans can be enrolled daily by DMRS.
Additional state and federal funding has not been made available at this time. In other words, there is currently no way to assist the migrants as quickly as they are expected to arrive and they will likely overwhelm area shelters and services.
Cubans arrive in the United States with special status that makes them eligible for cash assistance for a limited number of months as well as eligibility to apply for work authorization.