Our background, team and more.
The 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 a large, welcoming shelter space. As of December of 2019, Casa Alitas has served over 35,000 asylum-seekers.
Casa Alitas is run by only a few staff and over 700 committed volunteers. Our volunteers come from all over and from all different backgrounds. Some speak Spanish but many do not. Volunteers assist in all areas of service to our families.
Most asylum-seekers are families: parents, children and pregnant women from Central America and Mexico.They have traveled here over several days or weeks, often spent weeks or more at the border, and then spent 2-14 days in detention before being released.
ICE or Border Patrol brings families directly to the Casa Alitas Welcome Center.
Casa Alitas provides housing, food, clothing, toiletries, advocacy, and travel assistance.
Asylum-seekers are individuals who are fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries and have come to the U.S. asking for refugee protection.
Asylum-seekers are granted temporary parole and can legally stay in the US while pursuing their court case.
Only about 29% of asylum-seekers will win their cases and receive asylum in the U.S. They will then have full legal status and be eligible for government benefits, as well as, after a time, a green card and citizenship.