Out Of Spotlight, Surge Of Undocumented Families Rises At TX Border


After a brief lull, the surge of undocumented families passing through a temporary shelter set up by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in McAllen, Tx., seems to be rising again, the Texas Tribune reports. The spotlight may have turned away, but if the sense of crisis is gone, the people have not stopped coming. “The numbers increased a lot this past month, almost to 100 every day [last week],” said Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. “We have seen some that have already been caught and tried again. They have hope that they have a chance at a better life here.”

After Christmas, the charity will begin searching for a facility to turn what began as a temporary shelter into a permanent offering. Pimentel oversees the volunteer effort providing short-term shelter to some of the thousands of women and children who have trekked to Texas from Central America. About 52,300 families surrendered to the U.S. Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley during the 2014 fiscal year, an increase of more than 500 percent over 2013. About 50,000 unaccompanied children were caught or surrendered to border agents in the Valley in fiscal year 2014. “It doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon,” Pimentel said. “[The Border Patrol] considered the fact that we're here and we're prepared to receive them.”

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