Crisis at the Texas Border - How Do We Respond?

Thank you for your great response to our recent presentation on the crisis at the Texas Border! If you missed it, you can view the presentation here or on our Facebook page. Following the presentation we discussed what we might do as a parish as a response. Many of you had excellent questions, and even more of you offered your willingness to help Ascension as we ponder the best ways to help our refugee brothers and sisters.

It is important to distinguish between asylum seekers, and refugee resettlement. Asylum seekers are passing through Dallas to join up with sponsoring families or agencies. They may join up with sponsors in Dallas and may stay until further court process. Most, however, pass through Dallas via bus on to other cities. These are the people in need of respite centers. They arrive with nothing but a small backpack, and they arrive in Dallas needing food, medicine, toiletries, clothing, and a brief place to rest until their bus comes. They usually do not stay overnight. This is the work that Oak Lawn United Methodist Church is doing  With interest from the parish we could volunteer in partnership with OLUMC to help fold clothes, sort through items and hand them out or whatever their immediate need is. This page of their website contains more information about their response.  

Refugees seeking resettlement have already come through the immigration process. They are not seeking asylum. They have been assigned by local government agencies to apartments and are attempting to put their lives back together in the United States. Hope Harbeck is currently working with Refugee Services of Texas to collect items to furnish resettlement apartments. Since our presentation, I have contacted Refugee Services of Texas, and hope to meet with them and with Hope Harbeck soon to determine what Ascension might do to partner with them. This would likely be supplying an arriving family (perhaps one family a month) with basic furniture, bedding, clothes, towels, paper goods and food.

If you are interested in these options we need to hear from you. Please contact me to indicate your interest. In the coming weeks I will offer more information, including how to be an advocate with your elected representatives as well as the possibility for a mission trip to the border to experience the "Courts and Ports" program.

In Christ, 
Mother Marci