As the surge at the border continues, migrants are being transported to different cities across the country. On Wednesday, around 70 were brought to a Dallas church, but only temporarily as nonprofits work to help them get to their final destination.
“This is not their final destination, this is their transit point," said Almas Muscatwalla, executive director of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square.
The nonprofit is made of up clergy from different faiths and provides crisis management and advocacy for those in need.
"We're providing hospitality, we’re facilitating their travel plan and from this point, they’re going to their destination, to their families and sponsors," said Muscatwalla, who also referenced the court hearings migrants attend to most likely seek asylum. "We want to expedite this process here, so they can be with their families and make it to their court date so they have a better future.”
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Around 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Muscatwalla said they received about 53 migrants from El Paso, then midafternoon 23 from another detention center in Anson.
She said this is the first week in months that they've brought people in, but they've been preparing.
“Personally, I can tell you I am a migrant. I am from Mexico and I’ve been in the same experience as these people," said Isabel Marquez, associate pastor at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church.
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She said that 30 years ago she was in the same situation as the people who walked through her church's doors. Marquez said she was at a detention center for four months and knows what the migrants are going through, which is why she makes sure to make the space friendly and inviting.
"The first words that they receive here when they arrive, is like, 'Welcome, they are safe here and that God loves them and we do, too,'" said Marquez. "So we’re going to do everything on our end to be able to help them."
Volunteers are the backbone of the operation and after giving the migrants food, clothes and temporary shelter, they also assisted them with transportation to get to the airport.
“The main thing that I do is bring all the different pieces together, and work with the volunteers specifically helping get the word out, helping organize what our needs are, what times, when people should be here and then just helping make sure all the bases are covered, from transportation to food to volunteers to medical," said Jennifer Stinson, a volunteer and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"We hear so much on the news about these events about these people, lots of things about them, but when you come and spend time with them, it changes you, it changes your heart, it changes your perspective, it changes your understanding of what they’re going through in their lives, and just like Almas said, how similar we all are," said Stinson.
The church said it plans to receive at least one bus load of migrants every week from here on out.
They are in need of volunteers, to find out more information, click here.