I have only just arrived at La Posada Providencia, an emergency shelter for homeless migrants and asylum seekers in San Benito, Texas, when Sr. Zita Telkamp receives a call from a Homeland Security center in the neighboring town of Harlingen. “They’ve got another mother and child for us,” says Sr. Zita. A few minutes later she is barreling down Highway 77 through sheets of rain in the shelter’s communal minivan. You would never know by her lead foot that she is in her eighties—she has been a Sister of Divine Providence for sixty-five years, six of those as program director of La Posada.
La Posada has become a trusted resource for Harlingen’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility, which is overflowing with undocumented migrants, many of them women and children. The number of Central American mothers and children coming through south Texas has been steadily increasing since 2011, but last summer it skyrocketed. Some compare the situation to the European refugee crisis following World War II. United States Customs and Border Protection reports that about seventy thousand unaccompanied minors were apprehended in 2014. An array of religious leaders, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has been calling on Washington to respond to this ongoing humanitarian crisis. Meanwhile, the crisis continues… Click here to continue reading on Commonweal Magazine’s website.