Shelter at capacity, immigrants stuck in Tucson after Hurricane - Tucson News Now

Shelter at capacity, immigrants stuck in Tucson after Hurricane Harvey

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Casa Alitas, a Tucson organization that helps immigrants, is overflowing as a result of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. 

Immigrants seeking asylum find themselves at Casa Alitas after they're processed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

The organization provides food, shelter, legal assistance and helps them get bus tickets to meet family or a sponsor in another state. Then, they wait for their appearance in front of a judge. 

Dora Lopez, a site coordinator for Casa Alitas, said she's never seen it this full. 

"It usually isn't a problem because we try to get them out the same day if we can. And if we don't then they usually stay here two of three days at the most," Lopez said. 

The damage from Hurricane Harvey has left it unsafe for buses to travel east through Texas, leaving some families with no way to continue their journey. 

They are housing a total of 17 people, as of Wednesday night. Fifteen of them are staying indefinitely. 

"We have volunteers who do overflow, which means that they'll take some of the families to sleep at their homes," Lopez said. 

They've also set up cots for people to sleep on, and others are sleeping on couches. 

After days of delays, some are able to finally able to hit the road. 

One 21-year-old woman and her 9-month-old baby who are heading to Tennessee were able to finally get a ticket. 

She told Tucson News Now that she is very happy and excited to complete her difficult month-long journey from Guatemala and reconnect with her husband and child who have been waiting in Tennessee for months.

Lopez said they're always happy to help, but hope more families are able to start moving again soon.

"I'm hoping that by the end of this week. Maybe that's being too optimistic. I can't tell," she said. 

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