All the migrants/staff/most volunteers are vaccinated. Asylum Seekers are diligent about vaccinations because they must have shots before entering the USA. They are tested when entering the USA. A nurse is on staff and takes care of testing. There is a procedure in place for isolating and attending to those who are covid positive.
There are no safety concerns in the neighborhood of the Posada. We are only two miles inside the Border. We travel by taxi to the shelter and return by taxi. We spend the day outdoors in the courtyard of the shelter. The shelter looks like a motel 6. There are bathrooms in every room so bathrooms are plentiful. Border Compassion pays for lunch for visitors and residence on the day of a cross-over. We eat with the asylum seekers.
The only document needed is a passport. Even an expired passport works if you are a US citizen. Passports are not required to enter the country but are required to show when leaving the country.
Dress casually. Tennis shoes or sandals are best. Check the weather. Summer months are brutally hot and thus Border Compassion does not sponsor cross overs in July, August and September.
Every faith-based community is asked to bring $2000 for groceries for the month. The shelter community is food insecure.
Games for kids such as paints, bubbles, coloring books is welcomed. Is there a teacher in the group for ESL? How about crafts? Those who speak Spanish are invited to visit with the adults. Several staff are bilingual. 99% of migrants speak Spanish only.
Everyone in the shelter has registered for an immigration appointment on their cell phone. They wait in the shelter for a few months for an appointment. The notification on their phone will indicate the date, time and location of the appointment. Usually these are in Mexicali or Tijuana. These are the local ports of entry now. The applicate asks for which port of entry they prefer.
Asylum Seekers have to be called up for their immigration hearing and they have to be on the list! When they are called for their appointment, they must have a rapid test for Covid, show proof of vaccination, and submit the name, address and phone number of their sponsor in the USA.
If approved to cross into the USA, they might spend a couple days at Catholic Charities Immigration hotel. No one pays for transportation to their sponsors. Bus tickets and flights are usually paid for by the sponsor.
No. It is helpful if you have a partner who does speak Spanish. Some English only volunteers have an app on their phones which translates conversations which are bi-lingual.
I (Sr. Suzanne) am your hostess and I will go with you and help guide you across the border. If needed, I am available for zooms with your group prior to the trip. I am available to group leader(s). I will help you plan your groups pilgrimage into Mexico.
You will need cash for a taxi which cost $6 for the trip. Not $6 per each. Usually, 2 or 3 ride in the taxi. We take turns paying. It is important everyone bring exact change for transportation. No one will have change for you in Mexico.
If you decide to drive across the border in your own car, we recommend that you take out insurance for the day. There are many places near the hotel which offer this or you can get it on line and pay there.
Several groups come from a distance. Some prefer to come the night prior and stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Calexico with me! We go out to dinner and plan for the day. Some even want to spend the night after the trip and then go home the next morning. Others prefer to go early in the morning and get to the Holiday Inn Express by 9:00 a.m. We leave the shelter at 3 pm and get across the border about 4 pm and arrive at the hotel by 4:15pm.
Volunteers from: Orange County, San Bernardino, Palm Desert, San Diego usually go and come on the same day. Those from LA or Santa Barbara or Bay area often stay one night usually prior. Others spend two nights and take advantage of community dinners. The hotel has a complimentary hot breakfast which is served at 6 am.
We have had folks fly into El Centro and meet us at the hotel before crossing and we have had others fly into Palm Springs and drive two hours to the border.
Some stay at a hotel in Mexicali which are very nice and cost exactly the same or less than staying in the US.
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We will meet at the Holiday Inn Express 2501 Scaroni Avenue, Calexico, CA 92231 760-768-6048
Cars may be parked in the hotel parking lot for the day.
You may wish to drive across the border. If so, the entrance is very near the Hotel. We recommend purchasing insurance online. One option is http://mexadventure.com
The Hotel has a special low rate for BC. Ask for it when booking.
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