The Alitas Program of Catholic Community Services is a humanitarian aid project committed to providing assistance to familie s from Central America, mostly women and children, who are released from Border Patrol detention into our community. Volunteers offer support by providing hospitality including food, shelter, advocacy, and travel assistance. Our goal is to provide a comfortable, healthy location for the travelers to await their journeys, and to prepare them for a safe trip!
Most migrants arriving in our community are mothers, children, and pregnant women from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Most have travelled from their homes, through Mexico, to reach Arizona, a journey of several days to weeks.
In Arizona, the Border Patrol turns them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE provides them with documentation and orders to report to an immigration hearing.
Then ICE drops them off at our Hospitality Center. Up to 15 travelers arrive at our Hospitality Center each day.
Volunteers greet the travelers and help them contact family members in the U.S. They may also help them to get a confirmation number for a bus ticket, which family members have purchased.
We provide a safe place to rest, rehydrate, eat, and care for their children. We also provide a change of clothes, hygiene items, and a chance to wash up.
Women and children receive travel bags before they leave. Bags include food, water, toiletries, hygiene items, diapers and baby food, if necessary. We also provide blankets and small toys for the children for the bus ride. Bus rides typically last 2 to 3 days.
Travelers who are unable to leave immediately spend the night at the home of a trusted volunteer or at Casa Alitas, a small home in Tucson staffed by volunteers and Catholic Community Services.