Site icon Ecologies of Care: How Cross Border Humanitarian Organizations Support Asylum Seekers

Emergence of a new organization: Samaritanos Sin Fronteras

By: Julia Blumberg

New humanitarian aid organizations are constantly forming to help provide shelters to provide shelters with items they request in Mexico. A new organization, Samaritanos Sin Fronteras, formed about a month ago because the Ajo Samaritans stopped supporting humanitarian work in Mexico. 

Members of Ajo Samaritans wanted to continue providing humanitarian aid in Mexico and joined forces to start this new organization with members from Green Valley Samaritans. Jan St. Peters, member of this newly formed organization, has been involved with Ajo Samaritans since 2016, and volunteering long before that. 

“I actually started doing humanitarian work in Mexico before Ajo Samaritanos was even contemplating doing shelter work. We, at the point, we’re just putting water out in the desert and trying to find new places to put water. But then some of us saw the need to really help the shelters in Sonora, Mexico”, St. Peters stated. 

The two shelters that Jan visits weekly are San Pedro Shelter and Casa del Migrante in Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico, both of which are about a 40 minute drive from Ajo, Arizona. 

“I have to say that every year things change down there. Things can just really change, at one point San Pedro, the family shelter run by the Catholic, shut down completely,” St. Peters stated. 

The shelter, with a new priest in charge, has reopened to families, but with a limited capacity of 50 people. St. Peter brings them what they ask for and their food budget was recently cut so she brings a treat for the kids there and Samaritanos Sin Fronteras provides them money to be able to have two meals a day at the shelter. 

“So when I was down there this last week [March 2022], she asked for a hose because they are trying to grow things and there is no way to get water down there,” St. Peters mentioned. 

St. Peters lives in Washington, but comes to Ajo during the winter months, often with many clothing donations and shoes for the shelters where she volunteers. The work does not stop for her when she goes back to Washington, St. Peters educates others about her work in Ajo and Sonoyta just as she was taught about immigration issues when she came to Arizona for the first time. 

“I know that I’ve really educated a lot of people in Washington about what is happening down here and what we’re doing down here,” St. Peters said. 

As a new group, the members of Samaritanos Sin Fronteras are looking for new members to join them and want to start educating people on what is going on at the border. St. Peters sends email reports after every visit to the shelters to people all over the country to help them understand what is happening. 

Credits: Brochure courtesy of Samaritanos Sin Fronteras.

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