There is strength in numbers, so it is no surprise that Tzu Chi USA is partnering with Rise to Reunite, a volunteer group that helps improve the lives of families separated and detained at the Mexican border, to provide aid to the most vulnerable of refugee families.
This past summer the refugee situation became dire with the crackdown on illegal immigration from those fleeing Mexico into the United States. Approximately 2,000 children were separated from parents at the border with hopes to “stop other immigrants from making the trek,” according to a CNN article. By June, there were more than 11,700 children in custody.
Although a “zero tolerance” policy threatened prosecution for those illegally crossing the border along with separation of families, the refugees continued to have hope of asylum and the thought of a better life, which to this day keeps them hopeful.
These displaced families have many needs. Al Otro Lado is working to help with legal needs for those seeking asylum, which can take five weeks.
At the same time, Tzu Chi volunteers and Rise to Reunite are working together to help bring a semblance of normalcy. Debra Boudreaux, Tzu Chi’s executive vice president, recently met with Angeline Chen, an immigration lawyer and co-founder of Rise to Reunite, at a migrant shelter in Tijuana where 300 people are staying one family per mattress.