DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Major rallies are expected in downtown Fort Worth and Dallas Saturday for families separated on the border.
Protestors in Dallas will be hearing from Cheryl Allison, a Dallas volunteer who says people need to know what she saw on the border.
For Allison, children she photographed with permission from their parents are the faces of the immigration crisis on the Texas-Mexico border. She helped feed them while volunteering with Catholic Charities in McAllen, Texas.
“This should not be political; this is a human crisis,” said Allison.
The Turtle Creek resident says she was moved by coverage of the border. She called Catholic Charities and asked how she could help. Days later, she ended up at a center run by Sister Norma.
Once a judge finds a family can apply for asylum, they are reunited and legally released with GPS ankle monitors, but have no where to go. They are dumped at a Greyhound bus station by the feds. Sister Norma picks them up and takes them to the center.
“What she does is she helps them understand and process their paperwork,” said Allison. “She connects them with their family member that’s in the U.S., helps purchase a bus ticket (to their final destination) and then gives them meals, a shower. Many of them haven’t showered in over a month.”
One-hundred to 200 immigrants a day pass through the shelter. Families have already made the journey out of danger in Central America, through Mexico, only to be separated at the border, while legally seeking asylum. They’re held in immigration detention centers like this one in McAllen.
“They’re escaping persecution and real… It’s life or death,” said Allison.
Families are fed, given new clothes and a hygiene care packet, a place of rest before the final leg of their journey.
“One family was going to Boston,” she said. “Another Kansas. She helps them. She puts a sign that says ‘I don’t speak English.’ Am I on the right bus because they have to transfer buses. It’s hard. You pray that they go to a kind person.”
Once they reached their finally destination, the legal asylum process begins and as we reported last week, it could be years before they get a final answer.