Vic Hinterlang Photojournalist

12/4/2022 1:09:19 PM

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A volunteer member of a Catholic Charities Disaster Response Team and the director of the McAllen city bus station assist Central American refugees just released by the Border Patrol in arranging transportation to their families across the U.S., with whom they will stay while awaiting a deportation hearing.

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A volunteer member of a Catholic Charities Disaster Response Team leads Central American refugees into the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Although volunteers have come from various churches and denominations, Sacred Heart is the epicenter of the McAllen refugee assistance effort.

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Volunteers stop what they are doing and applaud as a group of Central American refugees enters the reception hall at Sacred Heart. The volunteers do this each time a new group arrives.

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A volunteer and a refugee child connect at the intake and orientation table.

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A young girl sits under the table while her mother gives information, such as where she is from and where she is going, and receives an explanation of the next stage of her journey. Part of the assistance provided is a card stating that the holder does not speak English and their destination.

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Two volunteers give a baby a bottle containing pedialyte while a mother offers her young son a cup of water. Virtually all of the refugees arrive dehydrated.

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Refugees eat a light lunch of soup and bread. The soup helps with dehydration and after not eating much for several days, a light meal is best tolerated.

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A volunteer helps a young refugee girl try on a pair of gloves. As most of the refugees arrive with only the clothes on their backs, most of them leave the center with at least a couple of new outfits.

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A young refugee girl and a volunteer discuss footwear. The long journey north takes a heavy toll on shoes, most of which weren't up to the task to begin with.

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A volunteer leads a young boy and his mother out of the center after they have showered. The average stay is measured in hours, although some refugees, especially those who arrive at night, stay until the following day.

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Refugees board a bus to continue their journeys to their, for the time being at least, final U.S. destinations.