Culture

El Paso Restaurants Step Up to Help Feed Central American Asylum Seekers in Need

Lead Photo: U.S. Border Patrol agent Ray Provencia informs Angelica and Karla (who didn't want their last names used), along with Ruben Garcia, director of the Annunciation House, (R) who was helping them cross, that they will have to wait at the top of the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry, where the U.S. and Mexico border meet, for space to open up at the border processing center so they can ask for asylum on June 20, 2018 in El Paso, Texas. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
U.S. Border Patrol agent Ray Provencia informs Angelica and Karla (who didn't want their last names used), along with Ruben Garcia, director of the Annunciation House, (R) who was helping them cross, that they will have to wait at the top of the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry, where the U.S. and Mexico border meet, for space to open up at the border processing center so they can ask for asylum on June 20, 2018 in El Paso, Texas. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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The Central American immigrants traveling toward the United States will confront xenophobic behaviors all across their journey. But on some occasions, they’ll be met with warmth and hospitality, like in shelters in El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico. There, restaurant owners from the area have fed immigrants and have put out a call asking other eateries to do the same.

Leo A. Duran Sr., who owns L&J Cafe, is one of the restaurateurs behind this act of kindness. He and others are bringing food to asylum seekers at temporary shelters, which is where many end up after processing. “I bear witness to the great desperation of these families. They are very humble, in-need individuals,” Duran said at a press conference, according to El Paso Times. “And I for one – our business for one – cannot and will not let them go hungry or anyone else that seeks help.”

One week, he and his wife provided 60 to 70 meals, and what he saw moved him. “What really touched my heart was seeing the children,” he said. “When I got into my car – my wife and I went in separate vehicles – I, as a grown man, broke down. At that moment something had happened. It was a calling.”

Los Bandidos de Carlos & Mickey’s, Delicious Mexican Eatery, and The Lunch Box have also joined in to help those arriving daily. The shelters have received as many as 2,100 people in one week, and many people in the area have reached out and provided clothing. To learn more of what these shelters need, email [email protected]