In 2019, El Paso experienced a record number of asylum seekers and refugees from Central and South America. El Pasoans united to volunteer at local shelters operated by various organizations, such as the Catholic Diocese of El Paso and Annunciation House, a non-profit volunteer organization offering hospitality to migrants, immigrants, and refugees.
The united approach brought together local community-based agencies, civic leaders, and countless volunteers who donated time, food, medical care, and personal hygiene products to address the immediate needs of the asylees and other migrants and to help them reunite with their families. Churches throughout the area held food and clothing drives, identified parishioners for volunteering, and raised funds to help shelters.
Annunciation House has provided shelter, clothing, food, and other basic necessities for hundreds of thousands of migrants, mostly from Mexico and Central America. Since the summer of 2014, they have organized and spearheaded the South Texas Immigrant Response network to provide short-term hospitality to the many thousands of refugees currently arriving at the southern border.
In addition, Annunciation House facilitates face-to-face encounters between its participants and people and groups in both El Paso and Ciudad, Juárez. Deeply rooted in El Paso’s history and through its Border Awareness Experience (BAE) initiative, Annunciation House aims to raise awareness among the international community about everyday challenges that the region confronts.
There was also binational cooperation and collaboration that brought about advocacy and response in Ciudad Juárez as the city’s officials led the way in converting an old factory into a shelter that could take thousands of migrants who had traversed the whole of Mexico to get to the U.S.