McAllen, Texas — Released with nowhere to go, dozens of undocumented immigrants flooded a church respite center in McAllen, Texas, after the Border Patrol set them free without bus tickets in July. The facility added an extra tent to accommodate the numbers.
“We have had upwards of 60 to 65 people spending the night over the last few weeks,” said Deb Boyce, volunteer group coordinator for Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. “Our numbers have almost doubled because they were being released without bus tickets. They had to stay overnight.”
After last summer’s immigration surge at the southern border, Sacred Heart Church opened a respite center to give immigrants food and temporary shelter in air-conditioned tents after they were released from Border Patrol facilities. The center was meant to provide refreshment for a few hours while travelers waited to catch a bus or plane out of McAllen. Last fall, after the number of immigrants waned, one tent was removed.