- Posted June 30, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Safe Haven Along the Border By: Tiffany Joissin & Amanda Salas
Many of those who cross the border are running from countries suffering from tyranny and extreme poverty. Though when they do reach America the next question is where do these refuges go to gain asylum? Throughout the United States there are many safe havens that people could use in order to have a place to call home. One of them is La Posada Providencia in San Benito, Texas.
La Posada Providencia is a safe haven for those who have crossed the border but have not yet gained legal residency or asylum in the U.S. The facility does not harbor illegal immigrants, but encourage those that do enter illegally to apply for work permits or the like. La Posada is run by two sisters of the Catholic Church on a beautiful open area. While residing there, the clients, as they are called, learn about American history and culture and many learn how to speak English. There are multiple people who stay at the La Posada Providencia and they come from all walks of life and from every place imaginable. Some come from countries in Africa, other come from Central America and Cuba and even some from Asia.
The clients are asked to help keep the facility nice by following a “chore chart.” In order to keep the community functioning, the clients are taught how to maintain the home and garden. As a matter of fact, all clients are shown how to create compost to use in the garden.
Sadly, no matter how good this safe haven is, or any facility like this one, many are poorly funded. The government only funds about forty of these safe havens each year and in order to qualify for the grant, each facility must fill out an application that is anywhere from 80 to 100 pages and the odds of receiving it are very slim. Organizations like this one rely heavily on the donations and kindness of others.
Two people that demonstrated that kindness are the two sisters. At the Posada there are no more than 4 people working and while there are numerous hands that are there to assist them there are still several things they cannot fix right away. The sad truth is that the public is not aware of facilities like La Posada Providencia and similar services, so they do not receive many volunteers. There are safe houses like the Posada all around the country that need more volunteers and more funding.
“I hope it gets more funding because the people in the Posada were not just people that came here illegally,” a volunteer at La Posada stated. “They have a lot of potential and have something to offer to our country.” Some of the people there already have degrees or hope to attend college in the United States. One of the clients that lives at La Posada Providencia shared their hope of becoming a coach once he gains asylum or a work permit.
Another volunteer summed up the feeling of La Posada Providencia and all of these safe havens in a simple sentence: “…they are doing something good for people out of their hearts, not because they are gaining something.” La Posada Providencia is helping immigrants gain work permits and asylum but only with the proper funding and support.