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Nonprofits assisting migrants in the Valley ask for funding from government

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Texas nonprofits are asking the federal government to help fund their efforts in assisting undocumented migrants and asylum seekers who are coming across the border.

“After the administration’s allowing of MPP applicants, now a lot of people have been coming to the border in search of asylum,” said Executive Director of Resource Center Matamoros Gabriela Zavala.

Zavala says one solution for the federal government to address the issue is to fund organizations responding to the crisis.

“As NGOs, we’re gap fillers,” Zavala said. “We see what’s not being taken care of and we hone in it and we take care of it and we do a really great job.”

Another non-government organization helping undocumented migrant families from Brownsville is The Holding Institute in Laredo.

Through experience, Executive Director Michael Smith says advancing a percentage of funds to meet demands would be the best option.

“We can create a formula and say, 'Based on years past, on numbers past, why won’t you, you already have the money, give us an advance of a percentage of and let us use that,” Smith said. “And when we exhaust that, then we can come back to you for more.”

While both organizations are testing migrants for COVID-19 in Mexico, and again when they arrive in the U.S., they’re also providing temporary housing, shelter, food and other resources.

“We’ve been receiving them at the ports of entry at the bus stations where they get dropped off,” Zavala said. “We’ve basically been providing legal assistance, just ushering them through the process of getting travel arrangements to go to their destinations.”

As a further precaution, Zavala and Smith say even though Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the mask mandate statewide on Wednesday, they’re still requiring migrants to wear face masks to mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19.

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