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December 15, 2020

Provide humanitarian assistance to Central American migrants

topic: Refugees and Asylum
type: Donation, NGO, Volunteering
by: Yair Oded

Each year, tens of thousands of Central American migrants flee gang violence, political persecution, and climate-related disasters in their home countries and head north to the United States in search of a safe haven. But the treacherous landscape in the border area between Mexico and the US, combined with an ever worsening crackdown on immigration by the American government, leave migrants in a perpetual state of danger.

Migrants crossing the Sonoran desert from Mexico into the United States have to pass through miles and miles of arid land, and those deported from the United States are often stranded in Nogales, Sonora - a small town with no capacity to care for the rising volume of migrants arriving there (often in both physical and psychological distress). 

Migrants waiting on a response from the American authorities regarding their asylum application are also forced to wait in places like Nogales, where there is no infrastructure to support them and where they fall prey to gang violence, sexual abuse, and kidnapping. 

Kino Border Initiative (KBI) is a non-pforit organisation working on both sides of the US- Mexico border to allay the plight of migrants fleeing for safety and promote an equitable, humane immigration system.

In Nogales, Sonora, KBI members and volunteers provide critical humanitarian aid to migrants (both individuals and families) who were either stranded in the town by US authorities or arrive there on their journey to the United States. 

Through its aid centre, CAM, KBI provides two meals a day to migrants, and distributes clothes, personal care items, and assistance in accessing social services. KBI also operates a shelter for migrant women and children where they can safely sleep, eat, and access care, as well as runs a First Aid station where migrants are treated for wounds, flu symptoms, and dehydration.

On both sides of the border, KBI runs education programs designed to raise public awareness of the causes of migration, the plight and challenges facing migrants today, existing grassroots mechanisms providing support, and possible solutions to resolving this crisis. The organisation also works to acquaint people on both sides of the border with the personal stories and experiences of migrants, and operates a program designed to help locals welcome migrants into their communities and assist them in the assimilation process.

KBI also offers a 3-5 day “immersion experience” (available virtually during COVID-19), where participants “spend time with migrants, learn from their stories, and understand the broader context of the border and immigration.”

KBI conducts thorough research into the migration crisis unfolding on both sides of the US- Mexico border, with a particular focus on the personal experience of migrants, and collaborates with other actors in order to advocate for just and humane immigration policy initiatives. 

Please visit KBI’s website to learn more about its work and mission, read testimonies of migrants it assists, explore its volunteer opportunities, and make a donation to support the team's efforts.  

Image: Tony Webster