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Report From La Casa de Paso at the Tijuana Border • March 2023

It’s cold and rainy, and the wind is blowing. Streets flood fast in this city, and huge potholes spell extra trouble for people trying to walk as well as drive in the miserable weather.

It’s late afternoon when Javier spots a large family group standing on one corner near Chaparral. His instincts are always spot on. He knows at a glance that they are new and don’t know what to do, always a dangerous look for newcomers to the border.

He approaches them slowly. There are two men in their 30s. One man is with his wife and two kids, ages 4 and 13. A man and woman in their 50s, the grandparents of the kids, complete this group of 7 people from Morelos, a state in south-central Mexico.

Now it’s raining harder. There is nothing to be done for them this late in the day, so Javier brings them all back to La Casa de Paso. They warm up and take hot showers while he goes to buy food for them to cook. They need a place to stay, so it turns out that for the next three days this large family stayed at La Casa de Paso while Javier searched every day for a suitable house for them. Finally, on Monday he found one! After that there is always negotiating with the owner to be done and back-and-forth with the family to make sure it meets their needs and expectations. By about 4:00 on Monday he had successfully transported all of them there.

And then, on the way home and feeling good at how things turned out, he sees another family of a similar size—turns out they are a couple from Honduras with a young child and the woman’s brother. They are standing in the rain as it is beginning to get dark, clearly uncertain about what to do next.

He stops and introduces himself….

* * * *

In the Good News Department, Lucia, our friend with two children who crossed a little over a year ago, just got a fabulous new job at a winery in Napa! This is a definite advancement for her in several ways, and she is so grateful that the chef at her previous restaurant made some phone calls to chefs he knows, singing her praises big time. The chef at this prestigious winery interviewed her last week. He hired her on the spot, and she starts next week! The winery is closer to the kids’ schools, and she said not only will she be making more money, but she will have the opportunity to learn amazing new things in a kitchen that advertises extremely high-end (think $$$$$) dinners. This is just one example of what can happen when we can provide enough assistance when needed to help asylees get past a few hurdles during their first year or two. BIG congratulations, Lucia!


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