A Refuge In the Desert
The Casa Alitas Story
We are a humanitarian aid project committed to helping asylum-seekers in Tucson, Arizona. Migrants families arrive at our shelter after recent release from ICE and Border Patrol detention. Volunteers offer hospitality; housing, food, clothing, toiletries, advocacy, and travel assistance. We provide comfort and safety while guests await their journey, and prepare to reunite with loved ones across the country.
Extending a Hand to Our Neighbors
Our program began in June of 2014 as a response to hundreds of Central American travelers who were being dropped off by ICE and Border Patrol at the Greyhound Bus station here in Tucson. What began as a few people from local churches coming together to bring food to the bus station, became an entire formalized program and welcoming shelter space. We assist hundreds of people each day. As of 2023, Casa Alitas has served over 180,000 asylum-seekers. Our center is a program within Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona.
Asylum Seeking Families
"An asylum seeker is a person who has left their country and is seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country, but who hasn’t yet been legally recognized as a refugee and is waiting to receive a decision on their asylum claim. Seeking asylum is a human right."
Casa Alitas guests are asylum-seekers. Most are families. They are parents, children and pregnant women from a variety of places around the globe, including Central America, South America, Mexico, India, Nepal and Eastern Europe. They have traveled here over several days, weeks or month. Often they spend weeks or more at the border, then another two to fourteen days in detention before being released. Conditions in the detention centers are arduous. Asylum-seekers are granted temporary parole and can legally stay in the US while pursuing their immigration process.
After detention, ICE or Border Patrol bring families directly to Casa Alitas where we offer shelter, food, clothing, toiletries, advocacy, and travel assistance. We help our guests reunite with family across the country.
Who We Are
Casa Alitas is a program of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona. The Casa Alitas Leadership Team and Volunteer Service Coordinators support a network of paid staff, volunteers, and interns to create a safe, just, and compassionate refuge for the migrant families transiting through our Southern Arizona border communities. The Casa Alitas program is sustained by an inter-denominational network of faith collaborators and inter-organizational partnerships with federal, state, and municipal government agencies; universities and colleges; and other non-governmental organizations.