HARLINGEN — Organizations are preparing for the arrival of unknown numbers of asylum seekers in the next few weeks.
Loaves and Fishes in Harlingen in partnership with Angry Tias and Abuelas are seeking donations for items needed by families coming in beginning next Monday.
Cindy Candia, who is a part of Angry Tias said the process can be confusing for asylum seekers but they will finally be able to leave the refugee in Matamoros.
“Starting Monday is when they will start phase one, they are saying about 50 a day,” Candia said.
Candia added the American Red Cross is also working alongside these organizations, 500 blankets are awaiting to be donated as well as hygiene kits. Those include toothbrush, shampoo, and other toiletries.
These two groups have been helping asylum seekers since two years ago, either picking up people at the bus station or just by receiving them at the shelter.
“This is the second time they come to Loaves and Fishes, I am ecstatic and so happy. We have been running the camp for two and a half years and it should have not been there in the first place,” Candia said.
“It is overwhelming but it is a good overwhelming. It is wonderful to be able to buy the undergarments, socks, shoelaces, for them to be able to go to their homes where they should have been already,” she said.
The majority of the asylum seekers coming in have been waiting at the refugee camp in Matamoros, Tamaulipas because of the Migrant Protection Protocols. During their immigration proceedings they had to wait outside the U.S. because of the “Remain in Mexico” program.
On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, the Homeland Security Department suspended the policy for new arrivals. Starting Feb. 19, asylum seekers will slowly be coming into the U.S.
“When you see somebody that looks confused, help them, it doesn’t take a lot,” Candia said.
“This is a humane situation we should all be acting upon, we get more interaction from people outside of Texas that help us than our own local communities and it is sad,” she said.
Candia added local government has been helpful in allowing the process to run smoothly.
“We are finally able to exhale, we are very happy that is finally happening,” Candia said.
Bill Reagan, Executive Director of Loaves and Fishes in Harlingen said the most important items in need are bottled water, towels and blankets, new underwear small sizes for men and women and all sizes for children, and good and clean small sized clothing.
“It is what we are supposed to do, in my view every time we help an immigrant or homeless person, we are helping Jesus,” Reagan said.
“It is hard, it is going to be a lot of people and it is going to be hard on our staff members but it is worth it,” he said.
Items needed for Loaves and Fishes
- Bottled water
- Towels and blankets
- New underwear small sizes for men and women and all sizes for children
- Good and clean small sized clothing
Located on 514 South E Street Harlingen