Our close proximity to the border means that Albuquerque is an important crossroads for refugees
from Central America who are legally seeking asylum. ICE screens the refugees, processes their request for
asylum, and releases them on their own recognizance. To keep them from being released onto the street,
churches and non-profit organizations in El Paso have organized a hospitality network. When they exceed their
capacity, they reach out to the faith community in Albuquerque for help. So far, about 1,400 refugees have
come through Albuquerque and continued on their journey to all parts of the United States to join family and
friends who have agreed to sponsor them. They travel by bus and airplane with help of their sponsors
In our experience, those traveling tend to be a parent with a child, ranging in age from infants to teens.
They are tired and hungry, but in good spirits and grateful for the warm hospitality they receive in
Albuquerque. With the weather warming up, we can expect more asylum seekers and a larger need for more
houses of worship to consider how they can help.
HOW TO HELP
Hospitality sites are needed to provide shelter for 2-4 nights, while the refugees wait for their sponsors
to purchase bus or plane tickets for them to travel to where their sponsors live in the U.S. This
An intake process
Access to showers and cots/beds
Spanish speaking volunteer to help connect the families with their sponsors and help arrange travel.
Each hospitality site will need a site coordinator who will receive training on how to manage a team of 15-20 volunteers at a hospitality site. Ideally, site coordinators can dedicate up to 20-hours per week, or more. Spanish-fluency is a must for this role, as is volunteer management experience and shift work that includes daytime, evenings and weekends.
Shuttle transportation from the hospitality sites to the Greyhound bus station and to Sunport airport. Church vans are ideal for this purpose especially during peak travel times of 7 am and 11 am.
Donations are always appreciated, especially monetary to help cover the cost of hotels. Groups of volunteers who don’t have a suitable space to shelter refugees have used budget hotels for convenience because they provide beds, linens, showers, and free hotel breakfast. The cost of hotels averages at $2,000 per group of 50 refugees for the 2-4 night average stay.