Thousands of asylum seekers reach the US-Mexico border each year. Often they get stuck there, in transition, without resources or support.
Our friend, Pastor Rosalio Sosa, has worked tirelessly for years on behalf of those who are displaced along the border near El Paso, Texas. You may remember that we visited him and some of the shelters he oversees in January.
We learned back in August that he was ill with Covid19. Now fully recovered, we wanted to catch up with how things are going among those he serves. We recently interviewed him on our podcast and you can listen to that episode here.
When the pandemic occurred, The Off Ramp worked with Pastor Sosa and Fellowship Southwest to provide face masks to a variety of human service organizations along the border. Pastor Sosa explained that the masks have been an important part of keeping shelter inhabitants free from Covid19. Those who were in the shelters before the pandemic began were given the cloth masks because they could be washed. Newly arrived migrants are given disposable masks.
When we visited in January there were 18 shelters in the network Pastor Sosa managed. There are now 23 and approximately 125 people arriving per day in the area. There continues to be close cooperation between government entities and the network of shelters, a need that Pastor Sosa unpacks more in our podcast conversation.
The greatest challenge has been providing food. Up until now, there have not been any cases of Covid19 in any of the network shelters due to very strict sheltering in place. Only the most essential people are allowed to enter and no one is allowed to exit. Getting enough food to all the shelters on a daily basis has been a challenge as has the expense. It costs about $100/day per shelter.
Still, Pastor Sosa is encouraged by how they have managed so far. Cooperating with government entities, teaching and following strict protocols, the response of those who have contributed financially, the provision of televisions to educate on human trafficking, have all played a part in helping displaced people in this area during the pandemic.