Binational Border Response Program
JRS/USA and JRS Mexico are proud to highlight an ongoing program initiated in 2021, aimed at addressing the pressing needs of refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced individuals along our mutual border. Known as Caminar Contigo, this initiative strives to alleviate suffering, enhance mental health and psychosocial well-being, and mitigate violations of legal rights among refugees, asylum seekers, and other displaced populations in the Cd. Juarez and El Paso region.
Since its inception, our dedication to this program remains unwavering. We stand committed to accompanying those in search of safety and stability, embodying the principle of solidarity by walking alongside them on their journey—Caminar Contigo.
What is the goal of this program?
For decades, individuals fleeing persecution, seeking refuge, and displaced due to various hardships in their home countries have converged at the U.S.-Mexico border, seeking sanctuary and safety. Predominantly originating from Central America, these individuals endure widespread violence and instability, compelling them to seek solace and dignity elsewhere.
The arduous journey to the U.S. border often entails traversing on foot, or via bus, train, or truck. Many embark on this journey without a clear destination, lacking knowledge on asylum procedures or understanding the inherent risks. It is estimated that the migrant population fluctuates between 10,000 to 19,000 individuals at any given time, with nearly a quarter being children.
With registered entities in both the U.S. and Mexico, bolstered by robust connections to numerous service providers in the vicinity, JRS is uniquely positioned to address the multifaceted needs of these refugees. Anchored in its mission, JRS has implemented a binational program that offers legal aid and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS) in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas—two key border cities witnessing significant migratory flows.
You can help and support the Caminar Contigo program directly here.
What does the program do?
The goal of the program is to reduce suffering, improve mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, and the decrease of violations to the legal rights for refugees, asylum seekers, and other displaced people in the Cd. Juarez & El Paso region through the provision of information, support, and other legal and MHPSS services.
Program activities for the affected individuals and families in the in the U.S. supported from our El Paso office include, but are not limited to:
- psychoeducational support groups and workshops
- structured recreational activities for adults and children
- provision of legal information and legal consultations
- case management
Equally important is the care afforded to the staff working with these individuals. Specialized training for the service providers, including psychological first aid, is a priority — as well as self-care strategies to manage stress, burnout, and trauma.
How do we do it?
Partnerships with local service agencies — specifically shelters and other legal service providers — are a key element in our strong reputation of connecting with displaced persons in need of legal and MHPSS services. JRS/USA and JRS/Mexico collaborate to ensure continuity and quality of services for asylum seekers of all walks of life, on both sides of the border.