Arizona-Sonora Nonprofit To Receive Migrant Aid From Catholic Church

By Kendal Blust
Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 8:20am

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Asylum seekers wait their turn to cross into the U.S. from Nogales
Michel Marizco/KJZZ
Asylum seekers wait their turn to cross into the U.S. from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and speak with a Customs and Border Protection interviewer.

Pope Francis has donated half a million dollars to support migrant aid projects in 16 Catholic diocese in Mexico.

One of those projects is with the Kino Border Initiative, a binational Jesuit ministry that works on both sides of the border in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora.

The nonprofit is set to receive about $21,000 for humanitarian aid like food and shelter, said Father Sean Carroll, the organization’s executive director.

“I think this funding expresses a deeper sentiment of solidarity with us and the work that we’re doing on the border," he said.

The need for funding and support is high right now, he said. Migrants continue arriving daily to Nogales, Sonora, often waiting months to ask for asylum in the United States. That leaves them vulnerable, he said, and in need to support for food, shelter, medical care and other necessities.

"The services and the support we provide are very critical for them," he said.

At least three other Sonoran migrant shelters in Agua Prieta, Caborca and Altar are also set to receive Catholic Church funding for migrant aid, said Father Prisciliano Peraza Garcia, Director of Human Mobility for the Nogales Diocese, which will receive and allocate the funds being sent to Mexico from the Catholic Church's Peter's Pence collections.

Peraza said the Nogales Diocese will receive about $51,000 for the four projects in Sonora. The money is meant to be spent directly on basic care for migrants, he said, but while the support is helpful, it's never enough.

"It will last three or four months," he said. "But as long as (migrants) are with us, they can count on at least the most basic aid."

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