KGUN 9NewsBorder Watch


Dance hall near Yuma converted into temporary migrant shelter

Posted at 4:42 PM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-17 19:42:53-04

The city of San Luis, Arizona, is seeing an arrival of dozens of migrants who crossed the border form Mexico. They're now staying at a local dance hall, until they make plans to go elsewhere in the U.S.

About 30 mattress lined up along the dance hall, each one with a family waiting anxiously for their ticket out of the city. Immigrant children play with arts and crafts as more families walk through the halls.

"Families that were waiting in the park also came to the dance hall, so altogether there were around 30 families," volunteer Martina Lopez said.

Volunteers are working around the clock from sunset to sunrise, making sure these families are taken care of.

However, Lopez says they are facing one major challenge.

"Some of these families are not aware of how to even buy tickets for airplanes or buses," she said. "Some of them are asking us if we can buy it for them."

Elias Lopez and his two-year-old girl are among the temporary residents at the dance hall. His goal is to get an airplane ticket to Tennessee, where his wife and older son are.

His wife crossed two months ago. Lopez says it's been more difficult for him then he imagined.

"The process was different with my wife," he said. "She was able to get transportation to where she's at right now, quicker."

Lopez says he was not expecting agents leaving them in an area none of them are familiar with. But nonetheless, he says he feels grateful for these volunteers at the shelter.

"We thought they would drop us off somewhere where there's transportation, but we arrived at a convenient store and immigration told us to get off, they just told us to figure it out," he said. "Having these amazing people take us in makes us have a sense of relief there are good people."

Lopez says that he'd do it all over again and re-walk the trek from Guatemala to reunite with his wife and son.

"We didn't know what to expect during the road here," he said. "We were told nothing would happen but you can't help to expect and one worries about food, or what i would feed my daughter."