Often, immigrants arriving in South Texas are portrayed by the media as mostly arriving from Central and South American countries. At La Posada Providencia, we see, first-hand, that the demographics of arriving immigrants reflect a much broader geography.
Did you know that many of our clients come from places as far away as Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, China, and other countries from all around the world?
The tales of how they arrived at La Posada are often harrowing, with many of them enduring brutal journeys across continents as they escape political/religious persecution, war, extreme poverty and/or famine in their native lands.
Recently, La Posada sheltered a family from Ethiopia, a country currently undergoing deep political and social divisions. The mother, her newborn child and her 7-year-old son, who did not wish to be named, escaped their country due to religious persecution. They are now in the process of seeking political asylum in the U.S.
The Ethiopian clients endured a treacherous journey through more than six countries, including Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico.
“Some of our clients spend months, if not years, traveling the world in hopes of reaching the U.S.,” said La Posada Program Director Sister Zita Telkamp, CDP. “When they arrive at La Posada, our first priority is to offer them shelter in a peaceful and compassionate way as we help them navigate their next steps in the resettlement process.”
Most of our clients arrive at La Posada with nothing more than the clothes on their back, leaving in haste due to the dire circumstances from which they fled.
“We are grateful to be staying at La Posada, and for their help with the challenges of starting a life in America,” said the mother from Ethiopia.
But reaching the U.S. is only the first step for the family. As they wait for their immigration cases to be adjudicated, La Posada will focus on teaching them valuable life skills, with programs providing English as a Second Language classes, history and cultural lessons, food, and shelter – all part of very specialized case management process.
“At La Posada, we are ready to help clients regardless of their country of origin,” Sister Zita said. “There are many places around the world where people are suffering – where they are being oppressed. We can only offer our clients escaping those conditions a kind and helpful hand up during these challenging times.”