Ariana Saludares, her daughter Kim Taylor, Tyler Taylor and Morgan Schaller, Photo by
More than 70 boxes of much-needed items were donated by thrifty Los Alamos County residents for illegal asylum seekers in Deming. Photo courtesy
Donations from Los Alamos residents will be loaded into this mimvan and a larger van for transportation to Deming for illegal asylum seekers. Photo courtesy
By TYLER TAYLOR
On October 25, those in Deming who help illegal asylum seekers felt the blessing of Los Alamos County residents. That evening, two vans brought 70 boxes of much-needed items to their center — courtesy of Colores United, a group of thoughtful and compassionate people from the area.
The presenters are Kim Taylor, Morgan Schaller and myself. We were met by Ariana Saludares, the General Manager of Colores United, the three of us toured the building, met the staff, enjoyed the faces of many visitors, and watched the children enjoy the room play and playground.
We learned that each visitor had previously spent 3-7 days in a federal prison, was designated a bona fide asylum seeker, and was then transferred to the Deming program. Most people spend 2-7 days in Deming before going to a sponsor’s home—usually a long way away. Sometimes, no sponsor can be easily identified, and shelter workers call around the US to find sponsoring entities, which can take weeks. We get about 200 visitors every week, which is a lot of work and an amazing job for a small group in a town of about 14,000!
The “shelter” is currently a very structured program where people are given a room at the nearby Days Inn, but spend the day at a safe community center (a renovated bike shop). There they can rest in peace, hydrate, eat community food, and make their plans for the future. Even a small clinic – borrowed from the fifth wheel – is on site for smaller medical needs.
On our release day, we had about 50 new arrivals, mostly from Ecuador and Nicaragua. But sometimes the American countries are out, Russia, Turkey, Senegal, etc. have come in. How do employees communicate with everyone? Google Translate! And miming and hand signals when needed. A smile, kindness, and persistence will pay off.
While Ariana is thrilled with the amount of clothes, food, shoes, and toiletries that have just arrived, she knows that the more than $6,000 in donations raised brought tears to her eyes. She explained that her FEMA life has been spent on monthly funding for a year (like other shelters), and that our new funding will allow her to pay her staff for another month. The feathers he thought could be avoided — for a while.
Colores United plans to have small groups visit Deming for a week, stay in a shelter, volunteer and learn at the day center, and participate in region, to have “fun”. A few people are trying this now; expansion may be imminent.
We don’t know how many people in Los Alamos County were able to do this. Six congregations shared the word with their members, and word of mouth helped from there. Next year we will repeat this collection, hopefully even more.
For those interested in helping this ever-changing and tired population, contact Cathy Schaller at email@example.com to donate winter clothes, socks, etc. He can arrange for the items to be shipped to Deming in the coming weeks. Direct monetary donations can be made at coloresunited.org.
Many thanks to these events, which played an important role in our recent success:
- Unitarian Church of Los Alamos
- United Church of Los Alamos
- Church of Latter Day Saints, Los Alamos
- Los Alamos Jewish Center
- White Rock Presbyterian Church
- Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church
Well done, LA County!! So most of us remember that “It’s lucky you go with me”.
Tyler Taylor is learning how to organize and distribute clothing. Photo courtesy
Deming’s common room and dining area with Kim Taylor on the right. Photo courtesy
Ariana Saludares, her daughter Kim Taylor and Morgan Schaller in a relaxing scene. Photo courtesy
The table. Photo courtesy
The playroom. Photo courtesy
The playground is in the annex building. Photo courtesy
Toilets in the day-centre. The hotel rooms of the guests have showers. Photo courtesy