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Each day, individuals and families seeking asylum flee their home countries to escape violence, religious persecution, and war. In an effort to respond faithfully to the needs of our siblings-in-Christ, the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas established Immigration Ministries in 2019, to distribute factual information about the ongoing humanitarian needs at its southern border and to equip congregants with resources to welcome and embrace migrants in our communities.

Immigration Ministries strives to share the realities of the migrant experience, to provide education around immigration laws and policies, to support partner organizations serving migrants in our communities, and to help individuals and Episcopal congregations walk in love as we endeavor to follow Christ and serve our neighbors.

How We Serve

The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and Mexico share approximately 500 border miles along the Rio Grande. Individuals and Episcopal congregations are responding to the needs of asylum seekers along the border, as well as individuals in local law enforcement, in a variety of outreach and pastoral care ministries. In addition, the diocese has sent mission teams for decades into the countries from which many are fleeing today, seeking to sustainably improve the health, education and living conditions of vulnerable populations. The following are primary initiatives in which our churches actively participate.

Emergency Housing & Essentials

During the COVID-19 pandemic, after a family is released from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody as part of the legal immigration process, they must travel to join sponsors or family members throughout the United States. If a family or individual does not have family or sponsorship contacts in the U.S. they do not have access to housing or basic necessities, leaving them incredibly vulnerable upon their release. In collaboration with local partner organizations, we provide short-term housing, spiritual support, and essential needs to these families through the Emergency Immigration Housing Fund.

Take Action

Give to the Emergency Immigration Housing Fund to help us continue providing short-term shelter, transportation, food, and other essentials.

  • Click here to make a donation online. Select ‘Immigration Ministries’ then “Emergency Immigration Housing Fund” in the ‘Sub-Fund’ section.
  • To contribute by mail, please send checks payable to "Diocese of West Texas," with "Immigration Ministries" on the memo line, to the following address:
    Diocese of West Texas
    Attn: Immigration Ministries
    P.O. Box 6885
    San Antonio, TX 78209

Food & Personal Protective Equipment Kits

Migrants traveling to their families across the United States have shared a sincere need for food and personal protective equipment (PPE) for their journey with local volunteers this year. Immigration Ministries has partnered with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC) and Team Brownsville to provide Food and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits in one-gallon Ziploc bags to asylum seeking families and individuals. Congregations can help by hosting a Food & PPE Kit Donation Drive or receiving kits assembled by individuals at their church.

  • Click here for more information about hosting a donation drive.
  • Click here to sign up as a drop off location for assembled kits.
  • Click here to view a map of current drop off locations.
  • Click here to save and print the PPE & Food Kit list with instructions.

Baby Kits & Child Item Drives

Asylum-seeking families often include babies and young children. Immigration Ministries has partnered with Team Brownsville and the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition (VVBHC) in Del Rio to provide Baby Kits and child items to these families as they travel throughout the diocese. All supplies will be distributed by Team Brownsville and VVBHC volunteers.

  • Click here for more information about hosting a Baby Kit & Child Item drive.
  • Click here to view a map of current drop off locations.
  • Click here to save and print the Baby Kit & Child Item list with instructions.

San Antonio Region

Volunteer Drivers 

Individual volunteers are needed to drive families and individuals seeking asylum to appointments and errands throughout San Antonio.

  • Click here for more information about serving as a Volunteer Driver.
Airport and Bus Station Outreach Volunteers

Volunteer with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC) to provide a warm San Antonio greeting and invaluable resources to families and individuals seeking asylum, who have been released from American detention centers and processing centers along the border. Volunteer shifts can be different amounts of time, with openings every day of the year between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

  • Click here for more information from IWC and to sign up to serve.
Hospitality Team Volunteers  

Some families and individuals seeking asylum may require a short-term homestay in the San Antonio area. Hospitality Teams will be on-call to respond to an essential need or emergency, as reported by the family or homestay host(s). Hospitality Team duties may include: transportation to doctor's appointments, purchasing and delivering essential items (reimbursable) to the homestay, dropping off food, and others.

  • Click here for more information about joining the Hospitality Team.
Short-Term Hosts  

As immigration policies continue to evolve, the need is growing for congregations and community groups to serve as short-term home hosts for migrant families and individuals. Currently, diocesan Immigration Ministries is seeking families who live in the San Antonio area, with a spare room or safe rental property to host a family for anywhere from one night to one month.

  • Click here for more information about serving as a short-term host.

Border Ministries

Team Brownsville

Team Brownsville crosses the Gateway International Bridge between Brownsville, TX and Matamoros, Mexico to serve asylum seekers. It supplies food, clothing, and other essentials to asylum seekers at the La Plaza Bus Terminal in Brownsville upon release. To support Team Brownsville, visit the links below or donate using their Amazon Wishlist.

Take Action

Bus Station Volunteers (Brownsville): Individual volunteers who live in the Rio Grande Valley region, or are interested in traveling to serve on the border, are needed to welcome asylum-seeking families and individuals at the Brownsville Bus Station.

  • Click here for more information about serving as a bus station volunteer, in Brownsville.

Baby Kits & Child Items (Brownsville): Asylum-seeking families often include babies and young children. Immigration Ministries has partnered with Team Brownsville and the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition (VVBHC) in Del Rio to provide Baby Kits and child items to these families as they travel throughout the diocese. All supplies will be distributed by Team Brownsville and VVBHC volunteers.

  • Click here for more information about hosting a Baby Kit & Child Item drive.
  • Click here to donate directly through the Team Brownsville Amazon Wishlist.
  • Click here to save and print the Baby Kit & Child Item list with instructions.

Financial donations to Team Brownsville may be made through their website, at teambrownsville.org/donate.

Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition

The Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition is a group of local citizens and agencies that haveunited to develop an efficient way to transition refugees to their destinationsupon release of federal custody through a unified and coordinated effort.

Take Action

Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition Respite Center (Del Rio): Volunteers who live in the Del Rio area or are interested in traveling to serve on the border are needed to welcome asylum-seeking families and individuals at the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition (VVBHC) respite center.

  • Click here for more information about serving with the VVBHC.

Baby Kits & Child Items (Del Rio): Asylum-seeking families often include babies and young children. Immigration Ministries has partnered with Team Brownsville and the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition (VVBHC) in Del Rio to provide Baby Kits and child items to these families as they travel throughout the diocese. All supplies will be distributed by Team Brownsville and VVBHC volunteers.

  • Click here for more information about hosting a Baby Kit & Child Item drive.
  • Click here to donate directly through the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition (VVBHC) Amazon Wishlist.
  • Click here to save and print the Baby Kit & Child Item list with instructions.

Mission: Border Hope

The Mission: Border Hope Resource Center is a non-profit organization that provides a safe haven for arriving CBP processed families in Maverick County. When they arrive we give them all an orientation, so they know where they are located, what to do next, and of course, explain that they have arrived in the United States. We offer phone calls, wifi, and translators so they can call their families after being detained for hours, days or even months and  provide options for them to travel safely to their final destination.

Take Action

Volunteers who live in the Eagle Pass area or are interested in traveling to serve on the border are needed to welcome asylum-seeking families and individuals at Mission Border Hope.

  • Click here for more information about getting involved.

In Progress

Partner information coming soon. Contact immigration@dwtx.org with questions.

Catholic Charities Respite Center

Catholic Charities Respite Center Volunteers (McAllen): Volunteer with Catholic Charities Respite Center in McAllen. Individuals who live in the Rio Grande Valley region or are interested in serving along the border are needed to welcome asylum-seeking families and individuals in McAllen.

  • Click here for more information about welcoming families in McAllen.

Sponsorship

In addition to the short-term housing provided by the Emergency Immigration Housing Fund, there is a growing need for local congregations, community groups, and congregations across the U.S. to host individuals and families seeking asylum. In response, the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and Southwestern Texas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have partnered to host a monthly forum for congregations and community groups seeking to learn more about long-term sponsorship and local short-term homestays. On the first Tuesday of each month from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. CST, join Immigration Ministries, the Southwestern Texas Synod, and sponsorship and legal experts to learn more about how to serve asylum-seeking migrants in this way.

Take Action

Click here to register for the next forum and learn more about sponsorship.

Ministry Partners

Episcopal Migration Ministries

[National] Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) lives the call of welcome by supporting refugees, immigrants, and the communities that embrace them as they walk together in The Episcopal Church’s movement to create loving, liberating, and life-giving relationships rooted in compassion. EMM’s desire to honor the inherent value of human connection brings communities together to love their neighbors as themselves.

EMM acts in covenant with individuals and partners to ensure the equity of all voices as they work to serve, engage, and sustain the mission.

Southwestern Texas Synod, ELCA

[South Texas]The Southwestern Texas Synod is proud to be one of the 65 Synods in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Synod covers a wide area spanning from almost to the western edge of Texas to just north of Austin and down south to the tip of Texas, includes 130 congregations in 8 conferences with over 250+ rostered leaders. Our purpose statement is: God's grace transforms and connects us to learn, to love, to lead. The Southwestern Texas Synod and our partners offer a variety of places, spaces, and opportunities specifically designed to support and connect all people as they grow in faith and discover God’s mission in this world.

Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC)

[San Antonio, TX] IWC is an ecumenical, collaborative movement meeting the changing needs of asylum seekers, refugees and at-risk immigrants. Multiple Episcopal churches participate in its various ministries.

'Acción de Gracia Immigration Assistance

[Weslaco and McAllen, TX] Acción de Gracia Immigration Assistance provides legal consultation to migrants who cannot afford it, or those that are not serviced through other organizations, helping people get the documentation they need. This volunteer led, non-profit organization hosts a free, monthly legal clinic at Grace Episcopal Church, Weslaco, as well as providing individual follow up consultations and other support as needed to the surrounding communities. For more information, contact attorney Kenna Giffin, at info@accionimmigration.org.

Texas Border Collaboration Network

[South Texas] A communication and collaboration network of organizations involved in providing direct service, legal aid, advocacy and hospitality for people migrating in the Texas, Mexico border zone.

City of San Antonio - Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services (DHS) coordinates a Migrant Resource Center with IWC, and other non-profit organizations, across from the downtown Greyhound Bus Station to support legal migrants arriving inSan Antonio as they continue their journeys to sponsors across the country.

World Missions Initiatives

Pray, Give, Go! For decades, the diocese has sent mission teams into the countries from which many are fleeing today, seeking to sustainably improve the health, education and living conditions of vulnerable populations. For information about supporting and participating in ongoing World Mission initiatives and sustainable development projects in Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, as well as other countries world-wide, visit the World Mission Department web page.

Connect

Stay Connected to Immigration Ministries

Click here to subscribe to the bi-weekly Immigration Ministries Update, featuring events, volunteer and giving opportunities, news, and prayer requests.

Click here to follow the Immigration Ministries Facebook page.

Click here to view Immigration Ministries blog articles and events.

Coordinator for Immigration and Refugee Ministries: Flor Saldivar

Contact

Send us a message, give us a call, or sign up for our Newsletter.

LET'S CONNECT