ASSISTANCE AT THE BUS STATION
Volunteers assist asylum seekers who are dropped at the Brownsville La Plaza bus station who are waiting to travel to their sponsor somewhere in the US. The asylum seekers arrive at the bus station through two different paths. Some are brought to the bus station by ICE after being released from one of the three immigration detention centers in the Rio Grande Valley. In addition, since the end of March, some families are being released from CBP custody directly to the bus station after processing at Border Patrol stations.
Program leader/coordinator: Sergio Cordova
At the bus station, volunteers help asylum seekers place calls to their families to obtain bus or plane tickets for travel to the sponsor location. Depending on the bus schedule, asylum seekers can be sent to one of the shelters serving asylum seekers in Brownsville, or wait at the station until it is time for their bus to depart. For those sent to shelters, after spending time at the shelter where they can eat a meal, shower and change their clothes, they must return to the bus station to await the departure of their bus. Often families wait at the bus station for up to 6 hours.
Team Brownsville is currently meeting the needs of asylum seekers at the bus station in the evening, serving a meal and distributing needed supplies such as diapers, wipes, sanitary napkins, shoelaces and belts to those who need them. We also bring Spanish language books, coloring books and crayons and small soft toys/dolls to distribute to the children.
We also help people understand their tickets, by reviewing bus changes and making a map showing where they are going. Volunteer presence there at the bus station is critical, because many families have been traumatized during their journey north as well as in immigration custody.
You can sign up to help at the bus station by volunteering to:
Prepare and serve a meal (quantities vary dramatically by day, so check with Sergio for a forecast)
Assist with travel itineraries (requires Spanish language skills)
For the bus station, you are welcome to bring wrapped snacks, belts, hair ties, shoelaces, small toys for kids, kids books in Spanish, coloring books and crayons, and Spanish language bibles.
Volunteers can help at the bus station waiting area any time of day as we never know when people will be dropped off.