Local organizations searching for volunteers as asylum-seekers arrive in U.S.

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — With more and more asylum-seekers expected to cross into El Paso, the need for volunteers and donations from the community is growing.

On Friday, the first group had 25 asylum-seekers crossed into El Paso from Ciudad Juárez. As those numbers are expected to jump, the need for assistance on both sides of the border will increase too.

“We were one of only three places on the border to receive folks who had been taken out of MPP and that’s really a recognition of all the preparation that’s been done,” said Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute.

As El Paso prepares to continue receiving migrants released from the “Remain in Mexico” program, local non-governmental organizations are ensuring safety protocols.

“We made sure that it was a safe process, that those who were paroled into the United State have received COVID-19 testing and they were all negative,” Corbett said.

Local immigration advocates said long-time preparation for this moment of restoring asylum at the border helped stabilize the process of providing hospitality, food, and other basic needs.

“Once we get some muscle memory and begin to feel comfortable with the process, the numbers will begin to increase,” Corbett said.

Corbett said about 25,000 asylum seekers had active cases in MPP program. As the number of migrants to El Paso increase, the supply and need for more hands on deck will increase as well.

“What that will mean is more volunteers helping Annunciation House, providing meals, also helping Ciudad Juarez to migrants who are arriving and preparing to come into the United States. They’ll need shelter, food, basic human services,” Corbett said, “Hope Border Institute, with the Border Refugee Assistance fund, will be supporting that population in Ciudad Juárez.”

In the journey of traveling across the country to reunite with loved ones, a sense of relief was seen within the first group crossing into El Paso.

“They’ve been living with a lot of uncertainty for a long time and a lot of anxiety for a long time. So I think this opportunity to come into a community like El Paso that has been so welcoming. This is what makes us so special as a community is that we are so welcoming. It gives people some space to breathe and renews their hope,” Corbett shared.

To help the Annunciation House with online donations or to volunteer your time, click here.

To help Hope Border Institute, click here.

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