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By Judy Kading - Justice For Our Neighbors
The Holding Institute Community Center has been one of the sites for humanitarian relief for the refugees who come from the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and cross the border at Laredo or are bused by the border patrol to Laredo after entering at another point.
The showers have been provided by the Texas Baptist Men and also my the Holding Institute Community Center. When refugees come from the Greyhound Bus Station to Holding, they are given at least one set of clean used clothes.
Folks like these United Methodists from Corpus Christie are bringing clothing and staying to sort it and to help with other tasks needed to keep everything running smoothly. The man in front in the plaid shirt is a retired pastor who graduated from the Holding Institute when it was a school up through high school.
During this week, we have not seen many mothers and children. Just a few each day have come and usually in the mid- or late-afternoon. Our friend from across the border tells us that one event that may have contributed to this was a train derailment in Mexico. Many people are hitching rides on top of the train. This accident would slow them down. Another aspect he noted is the increasing wariness of migrants from Central America who are in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and are waiting for better chances to cross. They are aware that single adults are being detained and quickly deported. Some do not have the money needed to pay the coyotes, the gangs (Los Zetas) or to bribe the federales. All of these actors, with weapons, prey upon the migrants.
Rumor has it that many more Border Patrol are to be brought to our area. But, in situations like this, there are always rumors. We help those who come to us and are happy to see their smiles after a shower, a change of clothes, some information about riding the Greyhound and some snacks and a toy for the children.