UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST SERVICE COMMITTEE : Creating a Compassionate Response to the Border Crisis

UUSC staff/UUSC
FM4 Paso Libre Staff and Volunteer Group

In the fall of 2018, as large groups of asylum-seekers began making their way from Central America to the U.S., the U.S. government sent more than 5,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. UUSC helped create an alternative response of compassion, solidarity, and support for migrant rights.

UUSC’s immediate response through the College of Social Justice was to coordinate the recruitment and placement of volunteers with organizations on the ground in Mexico and the U.S. whose shelters were being overwhelmed by asylum-seekers.

Our first volunteer partnership was with RAICES in San Antonio, TX, where we began sending volunteers in 2016. But as the numbers of refugees escalated in the fall of 2018, we also sent volunteers to Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas, which had been receiving more than 1,000 asylum-seekers a week. By January, we had recruited over 120 new volunteers, and by June 2019 our total pool of potential volunteers was over 600. We recruited more than 20 additional volunteers to work with long-time UUSC partners RAICES in San Antonio and FM4 Paso Libre, which runs a shelter in Guadalajara, Mexico, and sent a steady flow of volunteers to Al Otro Lado, based in San Diego and Tijuana, helping migrants with the challenging task of applying for asylum.

Our partnerships with all of these organizations have continued, even as the rate of migrants arriving at the border has ebbed and flowed. In total since July 2018, we have sent more than 100 volunteers and three interns to Annunciation House, RAICES and FM4 Paso Libre, and directed countless more to Al Otro Lado. We also supplemented our volunteer support to Al Otro Lado with funding to hire a volunteer coordinator based in Tijuana.

Featured Client:

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Thematic Areas: