DEL RIO, Texas – Only in existence since 2019, the Val Verde Humanitarian Border Coalition reports helping a record number of arrivals over the last two years.
“If you would have asked me in 2021 that we were going to assist 23,000 people, I would have thought that you were crazy,” VVHBC operations manager Tiffany Burrow said.
Yet the last year, Burrow said VVHBC saw more than 49,000 men, women and children, more than double the prior record.
Burrow said when the faith-based, short-term respite center began, it helped under 10,000 migrants.
She said it took volunteers, donors, mission groups, churches and other organizations to meet their immediate needs, from food to clothing and other basic necessities.
“Without so many people, we wouldn’t be where we’re at today,” Burrow said.
President Joe Biden acknowledged the work of humanitarian groups like VVHBC Thursday in a speech announcing his first visit to the border since he became president.
“These religious and civic groups represent our nation’s generosity, the best of our country,” Biden said. “They are powerful rebuke to the hostility, and even the hate which many people face when they arrive here legally.”
Presidential words of support are welcomed, Burrow said, but what is needed most is for Congress to finally fix the nation’s broken immigration system.
She said as it is now, “I don’t really see an end in sight.”
Implemented soon after the COVID-19 pandemic began, if Title 42 is lifted so that migrants are no longer turned away, Burrow said humanitarian groups like hers will need even more support than it’s already seen.
Burrow said they’ve had a lot of practice in handling large influxes of migrants.
Otherwise, she said, “I’ll take this one day at a time.”