Asylum Seekers – What happens after crossing the border?

Marybeth Bates

On Saturday, Dec. 21, the Democratic Club of Quail Creek welcomes speakers Dr. John Garcia and Nancy Garcia who will share their experience with an organization known as the Inn.

They explain that, “As volunteers and board members of the Inn (a Desert Southwest Conference Initiative of the United Methodist Church) our presentation focuses on the asylees we assist as they travel in the U.S. to join their “sponsors”. Initially we will address asylum and the ongoing policy changes by the Trump administration that affects these families and individuals who seek asylum. The backdrop of the Inn is in the form of the numbers we have served since our inception (December, 2015), countries of origin, and time spent at the border before being released in the US. The rest of our presentation is providing narratives from our interactions with our guests (asylees), the challenges they encounter as well as the challenges of operating a shelter that is welcoming, helpful, and creates a safe and secure space while they stay with us. Hopefully we can offer a more humane portrayal of the people we worked with daily, and who are facing increasing obstacles designed to discourage exercising the long historical bases for seeking asylum in the US.”

Nancy Garcia writes that, “From my time in college at the University of Washington engaging in civil and women’s rights issues to volunteering at a rape crisis center when living in LA, to working closely with both documented and undocumented migrants for 20 years in the Quarter Horse industry, I have always found myself sympathetic to the inequities in the overall human experience. Focusing on what I have seen and experienced in my own country, particularly considering that, just by pure chance, I happened to be born of Caucasian parents in the U.S. with all the rights and privileges of citizenship bestowed upon me, volunteering at The Inn seems to have been a natural progression.”

Nancy’s husband, Dr. John Garcia, was our speaker in August and gave an excellent presentation on Census 2020. He is an Emeritus Professor at the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona as well as being a Research Professor Emeritus, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. His primary areas of research and teaching are minority group politics (especially Latinos), political behavior, political mobilization, urban politics and public policy.

From the administrative work the Garcia’s do as board members, to the hands on food preparation, and weekly shopping runs to Sam’s or Costco for black beans, cereals, baby formula, PB & J, and doing whatever else it takes to make things run smoothly and ease the work of other kitchen volunteers, they do. As long as there is need in this world, the Garcia’s and Inn will find a way to answer.

Please consider bringing donations and join us on Dec. 21, 3 p.m. in the Silver Room, Madera Clubhouse.