Binational effort supports migrant refuge in Naco, SonoraBy Jonathon Shacat
WICK NEWS SERVICE
NACO, Sonora — A new resource center scheduled to open here this month will provide services to illegal immigrants who are returned to Mexico by U.S. Border Patrol officials.
The “Migrant Resource Center,” or “Centro de Recursos para Migrantes,” is a binational project of Citizens for Border Solutions in Bisbee and Iglesia del Camino in Naco, Sonora, with support from other organizations and individuals.
Construction work on the center started about six weeks ago. It should be finished in mid-December. The facility will be open 24 hours a day, as long as there are volunteers available to staff it.
Cecile Lumer of Citizens for Border Solutions said many of the illegal immigrants who get caught in the United States and get deported back to Mexico are in “terrible condition.”
“They may be tired, they may be hungry, they may be sick, they may have lost their medicine, they may not be able to walk because they have terrible blisters on their feet,” she said.
The center will provide them with food, water, warm clothes and blankets in the winter, as well as basic necessities like soap or a toothbrush.
If they need other types of help, volunteers will assist them. If no volunteers are available, an exterior wall will feature a map of Naco, Sonora, that shows the places where people can get help.
People who need medical care will be escorted to the Red Cross in Naco, Sonora. If they need a place to sleep, they will be taken to the Iglesia del Camino in Naco, Sonora. If they want to go home, volunteers will work with Grupo Beta and Iglesia del Camino to arrange a return trip.
Trinidad Alamea, pastor of Iglesia del Camino in Naco, Sonora, said a location is available where up to 10 people can sleep. He hopes to add more dormitory space next year to house 50 people.
“There are days when people don’t arrive, but there are days when there are people arriving,” he said.
Rosa Cisneros, president of Red Cross in Naco, Sonora, said their office is open 24 hours a day. She said about 50 or more people stop by in a typical week.
The construction work on the Migrant Resource Center was done by Tom Carlson of Bisbee, Manuel “Sharky” Baylon of Naco, Sonora, and others, such as Paul Tompkins, of Naco, Ariz.
Lumer said some items are needed for the center, such as a small refrigerator, a microwave, two gas heaters, two comfortable chairs, lamps, shelving, a large coffee pot and money to buy food, clothing, personal items and pay for utilities.
For information, call Lumer at 432-4294 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.