More than 1,119,204 migrants were reported to or found by border portal in the first half of 2021.
The United States is known for being a country of immigrants. Many people came to seek refuge from persecution and build better lives for their family. This is a theme that continues today for the United States. It is legal to arrive in the country and seek asylum. An asylum seeker is a person seeking protection that is not available in his own country due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. This has been part of American refugee law since 1980.
One of the most crossed borders is the southern border that separates the United States from Mexico. In the first half of 2021, more than 1,119,204 migrants reported to or were found by the border patrol. They then are kept in detention centers and their personal belongings are taken from them. One of the larger facilities in the southeast is in Donna, which at times houses up to 4,000 migrants who await their future. Once a border officer is satisfied that they fit the definition of an asylum seeker, they are approved and given a court date in their destination city. From that point, they are often taken on a bus and are dropped off on a street corner to find their way to that city for their court hearing. Once there, the judge will determine whether or not they will be granted refugee status.
When they come to the United States through Mexico, they may ride a series of trains, often referred to as “death trains”. Why? Because of the dangers of injury, victimization by violent crime and even death. Migrants see the risk as worth it because of government corruption, gang violence, poverty and violent crimes in their home countries. Many are seeking better futures for their children. The pandemic-related economic downturn and the pair of hurricanes that devastated Honduras and Guatemala last year only increased the already challenging situations.
Many near the border are sympathetic to the plight of these people and establish respite centers such as one run by Catholic Charities in McAllen,Texas. Centers such as this do the best they can, depending on volunteers and donations to help people get rest, food and clothes before heading on to sponsors awaiting them in different parts of the country. Several hundred individuals and families sleep on mattresses and share facilities in situations such as this one where there are four toilet stalls for women, a few showers and one table for bathing small children with wet wipes.
As this is such a pressing current issue, our founder Lou Haveman, and his justice focused small group of friends, are headed down to the southern border to understand this situation better. They will be visiting this center where they will deliver clothing and other necessities.
Our partners at Business Connect will support the team with one of Business Connect’s new products, the Crud Cloth. This cloth is essentially a shower in a bag that contains a terry cloth washcloth and a pod of soap and water. Once opened, the cloth can be reused again and again. This will be helpful in situations of limited shower access and desperate need.
If you would like to partner with the team going to help those seeking refuge, please consider donating to provide Crud Cloths. This unique product will welcome families and individuals who have left everything in hopes of finding a better life in the United States.