UNDERWEAR PROJECT: ASYLUM SEEKERS AT THE SOUTHERN US BORDER

SPC’s Immigration and Refugee Support Committee has learned of a desperate need at a new port of entry in Laredo, TX. Most of the asylum seekers have been walking for weeks and have only the clothes they are wearing—and no shoelaces. They have no means to support themselves until they connect with a family member or sponsor in the US. Our colleagues at Catholic Charities, who recently worked in the Laredo center, have asked us for help.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Donate socks, shoelaces, shampoo, deodorant , and underwear (ONLY new and in sizes for children and adult sizes small to medium). Bring them to the church May 26 through June 2 and they will be shipped to Laredo.

Donate money through June 2. Make checks to SPC with “Laredo” in the memo.

Send help directly to Laredo. Go to the Amazon link: https://smile.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/Z7SL0RKRRE4T.
Select from the Catholic Charities Wish List to send the needed items to Laredo via an Amazon purchase.

BACKGROUND
As most of us are aware, we are experiencing a humanitarian crisis at the US southern border as thousands present themselves seeking asylum. According to PC(USA), “As people of faith, our concern stems from shared values rooted in our sacred texts that remind us to love our neighbor and welcome the sojourner among us. To threaten families who are fleeing harm and legally seeking protection at our borders with family separation, incarceration, and prosecution is immoral and unjust.”

SPC’s Immigration and Refugee Support Committee has been working with Catholic Charities of Martinsburg for over three years, seeking opportunities to help our immigrant neighbors. Last week we learned of a particular situation at a new port of entry on the southern border in Laredo, TX. As other ports of entry are overwhelmed, a new one was opened and has been quickly flooded with persons seeking asylum. Catholic Charities once again approached us for assistance.

A port of entry is overwhelmed when the Customs and Border Patrol and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) have more individuals or families than they can manage. As those seeking asylum are processed (questioned about their reasons for seeking asylum), they are either sent back to Mexico without a legitimate claim, or they are relieved of their shoe laces and passports, given an Identification Paper with a court hearing date and location of the court. They are then placed on a bus and deposited—sometimes without notice—at a local shelter or sometimes in the middle of a plaza in a nearby city; often there are as many as 50-80 persons on a bus.

Until relatives or sponsors can be contacted to wire money for transportation, the asylees need clothes, food and care. They also need help to make the next leg of their journey while they wait for a court hearing that is likely many months away. This has been the role of shelters at the border, especially in Laredo.

The most immediate need for these asylees is underwear, socks, shampoo, deodorant and shoelaces (details above). The Immigrant and Refugee Support Committee is sharing this information with those who want to engage and participate in what will be an ongoing and shifting need to assist and protect the sojourner. While there may be opportunities in the future to travel to Laredo, for now, we are asking that you read more about the crisis itself and decide if you would like to help.

LEARN ABOUT THE CRISIS AT THE BORDER
https://wchstv.com/news/local/west-virginians-helping-immigrant-families...
https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2347/text

JOIN THE IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE SUPPORT COMMITTEE
The members are: Julie Tucker, chair, Lynn Coddington, Diana Eldridge, Pat Hamilton, Chris Madeo,
Linda Marsh, Chris Morehouse, Suellen Myers and Rie Wilson. Contact Julie Tucker at
office@shepherdstownpresbyterian.org

RECEIVE UPDATES ON THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION
Sign up with SPC’s Social Justice Committee: socialjusticespc@gmail.com.