Rio Grande Valley Rapid Response Network is a coalition of activists and non-profit organizations on and near the border focused on providing direct humanitarian aid to refugees and immigrants. 

The coalition began in 2019 when “drop-offs” of immigrants from Customs and Border Protection began in Cameron County, Texas. As organizations emerged to support migrant needs, the need to build out communications and collaboration between service providers become evident. RGV Rapid Response Network is now here to help these activist groups on the front lines communicate and coordinate with one another.

RGV Rapid Response Network sends resources and volunteers where they are most needed. Please take a closer look at the incredible people doing heroic work in the Borderlands today, and consider where and how you can get involved.

Angry Tias and Abuelas of the RGV

The Angry Tias and Abuelas’ mission is to advocate for dignity and justice for individuals and families seeking asylum at our borders. As immigrants embark on their journeys to destinations across the U.S., our aim is to assure their basic health and safety needs are met.

Angry Tias and Abuelas provide emergency assistance such as food, water, clothing, toiletries, logistical support, and cash funds when needed to those recently released from ICE custody at bus depots or shelters in Brownsville and McAllen. They also inform asylum seekers of their rights as they await entry into the U.S. They also provide direct financial support to refugee shelters in the Rio Grande Valley, and select immigrant shelters in Matamoros and Reynosa, Mexico.

In 2019, Angry Tias & Abuelas received the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award and The Church World Service Champions of Change Award for their humanitarian efforts.

ACLU of Texas

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is the leading civil rights organization in the Lone Star State. Since forming in 1938, ACLU of Texas has worked in the courts, the legislature, and through public education to protect civil rights and individual liberty.

The ACLU of Texas continues to work to secure and protect civil rights for Texans throughout the state. In the courts and in the legislature, the group fights for smart justice reforms that treat everyone fairly. ACLU of Texas fights for immigrants who have been unconstitutionally detained and discriminated against.

The fight for immigrants’ rights is especially important in the Lone Star State. Texas shares a 1,254-mile border with Mexico, and 16% of the state’s residents are foreign-born. Texas is thus a critical front in the national battle for immigrants’ rights.

Good Neighbor Settlement House

Since 1953, the Good Neighbor Settlement House has served the needs of the Buena Vida neighborhood of Brownsville. Hundreds of families and senior citizens take advantage of programs at Good Neighbor that provide community events, food, showers, clothing, and help with communication and health care.

Good Neighbor offers respite care for refugees released locally by U.S. immigration authorities to pursue their asylum cases in the United States.

Refugees are able to get help with travel logistics, local transportation, and communicating with their families. Good Neighbor provides snacks, hygiene kits, appropriate clothing, showers, home-cooked meals, and a place to sleep overnight if needed.

Asociación Ayudándoles A Triunfar

Asociación Ayudándoles A Triunfar is a non-profit organization that helps migrants, immigrants and homeless people in the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The organization began in 2010 by seeking to help the homeless in every possible way. The current focus is on immigrants from different countries such as Brazil, Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Africa who arrive and await asylum on the bridge between Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros.

The team at Asociación Ayudándoles A Triunfar tries to make migrant’s stay in Mexico a little better by bringing water, food, and hygiene items to them and helping to locate transportation, and a place to sleep and live until they are given asylum. The goal is to help people who need it and who have no one to trust while they are in this long and difficult situation.

Iglesia Bautista

The mission of Iglesia Bautista Migrant Respite Center is to provide the highest quality of care to asylum seekers and refugees while maintaining dignity, respect, and compassion as a top priority. 

Since April 4, 2019, Iglesia Bautista Migrant Respite Center has helped more than 6,000 asylum seekers and refugees recently released by Customs and Border Protection by providing hot meals, medical assessments, clothing, showers, toiletries, infant supplies, travel equipment, information and education on immigration documents and proceedings, childcare and opportunities to rest. 

Pastor Carlos Navarro along with community organizer and immigrant advocate Gabriela Zavala, joined forces to organize a center that focuses on trauma-informed care in the delivery of respite care services to asylum seekers entering the United States. All volunteers are trained using this framework and the results are tremendous.

Matamoros Resource Center for Asylum Seekers

The Resource Center for Asylum Seekers is located at the asylum seeker campgrounds in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Team members are housed within the center and are on-site 24/7 ready to respond to situations on the ground from within the camp. The Resource Center is also a six-unit office complex that is the home for Proyecto Corazón, a project with Lawyers for Good Government led by Charlene DCruz, who is providing legal assistance for asylum seekers. 

The Center supports asylum seekers by proving these essential:

  1. Legal support and consultations before their hearings
  2. A safe space for asylum seekers to access basic technology for printing, copying, and email
  3. Medical care
  4. Water for drinking, showering and washing clothes

The Center also conducts work training, supplies work uniforms and provides transportation for asylum seekers.

Team Brownsville

Team Brownsville was founded in July 2018, by a small group of like-minded volunteers from Brownsville, Texas. The organization’s mission is to help families and individuals who are legally seeking asylum in the United States. ​

They feed more than 500 people each day and distribute other needed items such as medicine, diapers and hygiene products and resources. Their work has been most recently featured by journalist Jorge Ramos and can be watched here. Most recently, Team Brownsville was recognized by GoFundMe as one of their #GoFundMeHeroes.

The team currently manages four programs that directly serve the needs of asylum seekers in and around the city:​

RGV Equal Voice

Founded in 2009, the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network (RGV-EVN) is a coalition of nonprofits working in the lower Rio Grande Valley and focused on improving the quality of life for historically marginalized communities.  The RGV EVN offers direct service to thousands of families while simultaneously positioning the community as leaders for justice and equity. The RGV Equal Voice Network facilitates grassroots leadership opportunities and positions local residents as leaders in the process of effecting change on a local, state, and federal level.

The coalition has six major areas of focus as identified by community members:

  1. Civic Engagement
  2. Jobs and Economic Security
  3. Education
  4. Housing
  5. Immigration
  6. Health Care

As a coalition focused on the needs of a border community the RGV EVN recognizes immigration to be a core issue that permeates the quality of life for all residents. Advocating for immigration reform and strengthening the civic health of our communities is central to all that we do.

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