MCC photo/Katherine Smith

MCC partner Casa Alitas provides hospitality by welcoming traveling migrant families to a temporary "casa" home to receive basic humanitarian aid. Casa Alitas is located in Tucson, Arizona. This photo captures a touching letter from a man and his son traveling from Central America. In the letter, they offer sincere thanks to Casa Alitas for the warm welcome and help they received. (MCC photo/Katherine Smith)

Casa Alitas looks like every other house lining the street in its Tucson, Arizona, neighborhood, but what sets it apart from the other houses is what lies inside.

Each day Casa Alitas opens its doors to migrants seeking asylum in the United States because their lives are in danger in their home countries. Inside they find a safe place where they are respected and informed.

Some migrants have been traveling for three months or longer by the time they arrive. They have undergone stressful processing with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to get humanitarian parole, which allows them to stay in the U.S. legally until their asylum request is processed.

Upon arriving at the house, guests are offered food and water. They are shown to their personal bedrooms and are given toiletries and clothing, if needed. Casa Alitas houses up to 25 families per week when numbers are high. Most guests only stay a few days until they can connect with families and friends.

West Coast Mennonite Central Committee began a partnership with Casa Alitas last year in September, helping to support the organization’s welcome, hospitality and gift of Christ’s love to migrants during this stressful time.

With tears, I thank you for the attention that you have given us and for how you treated us as if we were of the same blood, with the same humanity as a person.

A few months ago, a man and his son from Central America gave this touching note to the staff at Casa Alitas. “Where we have been during these past 16 days before arriving here, they treated us like animals. We endured fatigue, tiredness, hunger, cold and sadness, weeping under the rain, but through the love of God we are here in this country and achieved the triumph of arriving. I thank you for the food, the water, the clothing, and the room you provided. I do not have enough words to thank you all. May the wonderful God bless you today, tomorrow and always.” 

Want to learn more about Casa Alitas?  Request a live video chat with Katherine Smith, Casa Alitas Site Coordinator.  It's a great way for Sunday school, small groups or families to learn more about the migration process and how MCC is making a difference.  Email to schedule a live video chat.

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