Current need for short-term volunteers (updated 12/14/21)

Annunciation House continues to receive steady numbers of migrants and refugees who have been released from ICE or Border Patrol custody in El Paso. We provide them with temporary shelter and assist them with making plans to travel onward into the United States to reunite with family and friends elsewhere. With anywhere from 100-300 refugees arriving each day, we continue to be very grateful for additional volunteers who can meet the following requirements:

SHORT TERM VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

  • 2 WEEK MINIMUM TIME COMMITMENT – It takes time and effort to train a new volunteer and it takes a few days before that person can really be helpful. Therefore in general, we request a minimum two-week time commitment. If someone has volunteered with us recently, we would be happy to have them back for a week if they are not able to make a new two-week commitment. We cannot accommodate any volunteers who have less than a week to serve.
  • Age: volunteers must be at least 20 years old.
  • Language: some Spanish preferred, though not required. People with limited Spanish should know that their interaction with guests will be limited.
  • Willingness to do whatever is needed (within your capabilities).
  • Overall good health.
  • Must be completely vaccinated for COVID. Boosters are strongly recommended for those whose initial vaccine course was more than 6 months ago.

For more information and instructions on how to apply, click here.

We are ALWAYS accepting applications for year-long volunteers!

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An Ongoing Response to Haitian Refugees at the Border

In September, videos of CBP officers on horseback using reins like whips and charging at Haitian asylum-seekers to keep them from entering the United States shocked and appalled people around the world. We continue to be appalled that the wealthiest country in the Americas is deporting refugees back to the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. We are appalled that yet again, the Biden Administration is failing on its promises and is hiding behind Trump-era anti-immigrant policies.

The images from Del Rio are modern analogies to the treatment of African and Caribbean slaves during the colonization of America. They are reminders of the United States’ long history of imperialist, racist abuse of our Haitian neighbors, including the U.S. military occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934 and U.S. support of dictators through the 20th century.

In the national reckoning with racial inequality and anti-Blackness following the killing of George Floyd, we must remember that the Black struggle for human and civil rights is international in scope. “Black lives matter” means that ALL Black lives matter, be she a US Citizen, an undocumented person, an asylum-seeker, or a resident of a far-off nation.

The United States government MUST do better. We are appalled that Haitians have a less-than 5% chance of being granted asylum. We are appalled that since September of this year, there have been more than 66 expulsion flights to Haiti deporting over 7,000 asylum-seekers to a country in political, economic, and environmental turmoil. We are appalled, and disappointed, that the Biden Administration has continued to uphold Trump’s racist and xenophobic Title 42 policy to reject asylum-seekers’ right to seek safety from persecution.

We need hospitality, not violence, and Annunciation House is ready to deliver. We will always embrace the opportunity to stand in solidarity with Haitian families seeking safety, security, and the ability to feed their children. Over the past month, we have welcomed hundreds of Haitian refugees through our doors, and we will continue to do so as long as the need exists.

We call on the Biden Administration, ICE, and CBP to do their part by ceasing and desisting from their inhumane cruelty against Haitians and all other refugees, and ending Title 42.

Black Lives Matter!

Photo credit: El Paso Matters. Photo description: Four men sitting at a news conference table; one is speaking into a cluster of microphones.
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Black Lives Matter: Annunciation House’s Commitment to Work for a More Perfect Union

In the midst of an unprecedented moment in American history, the Fourth of July is an opportunity to reflect on the complicated origins of this country. This is the date on which a very imperfect people commenced the journey to form a more perfect union based on the truth that all human beings are created equal. However, from the moment Europeans set foot on this hemisphere, the ideal of freedom for all has not materialized. The historical reality is that people of color have had their freedoms eroded in a litany of ways including slavery, Jim Crow laws, lynching, segregation, redlining, evictions, and mass incarceration. Nonetheless, the ideal remains. Hope can be found in the Black Lives Matter Movement that progress toward the ideal is possible. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in recognition that the journey to freedom is far from complete, and affirm that our commitment to continue striving for a more perfect union is undiminished.

We at Annunciation House have spent the past few weeks grieving the unjust and racist murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah Miltongeor, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, and too many others. Our hearts break for their loved ones and community members. We say their names, and we affirm these simple truths:

Black Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter. Black Immigrant Lives Matter.

Annunciation House stands in solidarity with protesters across the United States and the world who are expressing outrage at our national failures to address the systemic racism, exploitation, and daily violence against Black people that has been a reality in this country since its very founding. We are inspired by the bravery of protesters putting their bodies on the line to demand justice. We share and support their demands for transformative change, including demilitarization and investment in communities of color.

Our work is intrinsically intertwined with Black Lives Matter and movements to end white supremacy, mass incarceration, and police brutality in the United States. The police and prison structures that oppress Black communities are mirrors and partners of ICE and CBP, which are guilty of terrorizing the undocumented, separating families, and detaining hundreds of thousands of immigrants in deplorable conditions with little or no due process. Black immigrants at the intersection of both of these systems are disproportionately detained, deported, abused, and painted as terrorists.

George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks’ brutal murders remind us of nineteen-year-old Juan Patricio Peraza Quijada, a former Annunciation House guest who was shot and killed in broad daylight on February 22, 2003 when he fled six armed Customs and Border Protection officers. Though the details of these murders are different, crucial elements are the same: all involved profiling men of color; officers ratcheting up the tension in a peaceful situation; the use of lethal force out of all proportion to the victim’s actions; and afterwards, excuses and attempts to justify the officers’ actions and evade accountability.

And yet, we recognize that the experience of Black Americans is unique, and that anti-black racism in particular is steeped in an incomparable history of American colonialism, slavery, and racial exclusion. The current movement calls us to reflect specifically on anti-blackness and to take concrete steps to improve our allyship with Black people. We recognize, for example, the problematic invisibilization of Black immigrants in discourse on immigration that is dominated by stories of Latinx migrants. Additionally, we are concerned by the fact that American systems of racial hierarchy are historically steeped in a “divide and conquer” strategy that may unintentionally hurt and divide us from Black American communities. 
It is our duty to continually challenge ourselves to understand these nuances and to support our Black siblings in demanding an end to racist state violence, police brutality, and mass incarceration. We vigorously recommit ourselves to working in solidarity with Black racial justice movements to dismantle white supremacy and create a world where Black Lives Matter. ¡La lucha sigue!

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PPE Donations for COVID19 Response

As of 3.26.20, Annunciation House has no known COVID19 infections among its volunteers or guests. However, the virus is circulating in El Paso and we expect it’s only a matter of time before it strikes our houses of hospitality, so we are preparing as much as we can to be able to isolate and care for sick people.

In addition, we already are helping with efforts to provide food and shelter for Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) participants in Juarez, and this involves interacting with many people in the community who are living in substandard conditions without access to health care.

Because of these efforts–both ongoing and anticipated–we can urgently use donations of Personal Protective Equipment, including N95 masks (or other surgical masks), gowns, face shields, gloves, sanitizing gels, sprays, and wipes.

We know that all of these items are also greatly needed by the health care system right now, as well as by many vulnerable individuals in our community. We are grateful for whatever donations may be spared for our guests and volunteers. If you have questions or need donation instructions, please contact our volunteer coordinator: volunteercoordinator@annunciationhouse.org

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Refugee Numbers Down; Short-Term Volunteers Not Currently Needed

Update on our efforts to provide short-term hospitality to refugee families released in El Paso by ICE: at this time, we do not need (and are not accepting) short-term volunteers (people available for less than three six* months).

*(edited 10/23/19 to reflect continuing decreases in the number of guests)

Year-long volunteers and local El Paso community volunteers are always encouraged to apply!

Background: On Sept. 23, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan announced that ICE would no longer be releasing refugee families from detention as they await further processing of their immigration, asylum, or deportation cases. Instead, if families are deemed to have no fear of returning to their home countries, they will be immediately deported; if they qualify for the asylum process, they will be sent to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols.

Since this announcement, the release of refugees from ICE and Border Patrol facilities to our houses of hospitality has decreased dramatically. Although it has not stopped completely, we are now capable of receiving and caring for the guests that do arrive with the volunteers we already have on hand. As such, we are currently suspending acceptance of any more short-term volunteers (people coming for three months or less).

What about Juarez? You may be asking, if people are being returned to Mexico to wait out their asylum proceedings, isn’t help needed there? A partial answer is that although there are many refugees currently waiting in Juarez, the numbers being returned to Juarez through MPP are also down sharply, perhaps reflecting that fewer Central Americans and Mexicans are making the journey north in the first place. At this time, Annunciation House is still trying to figure out how to work with Juarense organizations and groups to best support migrants there, but we are not formally placing volunteers in Juarez.

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Short-Term Volunteers for Emergency Hospitality

Update: as of May 2, 2019, we are no longer accepting short-term volunteers for the months of May, June or July due to the overwhelmingly positive response we have already received (thank you!) (We would consider making exceptions for people who can stay for 6 weeks or more.)

If you are interested in volunteering in August or later, please read this document and contact us about two months before you are interested in volunteering (contact instructions in PDF). We are not scheduling more than about two months out due to the unpredictability of the need.

We are ALWAYS accepting applications for year-long volunteers!

Original post: Beginning in summer 2018, we have seen an increase in the flow of refugees arriving at the El Paso border. As ICE detention facilities filled, the number of refugees being released by ICE increased.  As of the end of February 2019, 400-700+ refugees per day are being sent to Annunciation House.

We are urgently seeking additional short-term volunteers to help us provide hospitality to these refugees. For more information, please read this document (PDF).

 

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Press Conference – 2/11/2019 Truthful Border Narratives

Date: Monday, February 11, 2019

Time: 10:00 a.m. MST (doors open at 9:40 a.m.)

Location: 325 Leon Street
El Paso, Texas 79901

Facebook Live Stream

The separation of children from their parents continues. The narrative that refugees and immigrants are criminals is not true. Annunciation House and our partner organizations and faith communities have been providing hospitality to thousands of these families every week. The idea that refugees and immigrants make our country dangerous is not true. Rather, the truth is that they overwhelmingly become productive, contributing citizens of our community and of our country. 

Given the national attention being given to refugees and immigrants on our southern border, Annunciation House will hold a press conference with the objective of providing a more truthful narrative reflecting the reality of refugees on our Border. 

The speakers will include:

1. A refugee mother from Honduras forcibly separated for over 115 days from her three and four-year-old daughters by Border Patrol Agents on October 11, 2018.

2. A newly-arrived refugee parent who fled violence and persecution in Central America to lawfully seek asylum in the United States. 

3. A former refugee who was granted asylum in the United States and who has since become a valued member of our vibrant border community. 

Following the press conference, the speakers—along with Annunciation House Executive Director Ruben Garcia and Legal Coordinator Taylor Levy—will have limited availability for individual interviews with members of the press.

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Unannounced ICE releases

There has been an increase of refugees arriving to our border. This past weekend, there were three days of ICE releases directly to the streets of El Paso. Annunciation House—and our partner organizations, faith communities, and volunteers—are responding by providing hospitality to the increased number of refugee families being released by ICE in El Paso

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Press conference on the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin – the 7-year-old child who died in Border Patrol Custody

In this video, Annunciation House director Ruben Garcia reads a statement from the family of Jakelin Maquin Caal and answers questions from reporters. The video orientation corrects after the first few minutes.

Aqui el director de la Casa Anunciacion, Ruben Garcia, lee una declaracion de la familia de Jakelin Maquin Caal. Hay informacion en espaniol a mas o menos 13 minutos.

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The Honduran Caravan Speaks: Recognize This Humanitarian Crisis

The Caravan of Honduran refugees has released a statement calling on the United States and the United Nations to recognize their exodus as a HUMANITARIAN CRISIS and to recognize its participants as refugees “in need of international protection and humanitarian assistance.”

Please read the whole thing, and share.

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