Officials of La Paz Chattanooga say they have been coming to the aid of migrants who are making a stop in Chattanooga while on their way from Texas to Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Officials said the group "has been witnessing the arrival of migrants that include individuals and families following the legal process for asylum, as reportedly sent via bus by Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s administration.
We have assessed the current situations of those that have connected with La Paz and to the best of our ability, supported and guided those seeking orientation and/or help reaching
their final destination.
"We understand that it is a collaborative effort to ensure Chattanooga remains a welcoming city for these individuals who have legally sought asylum. At this time, La Paz is performing case management for individuals who arrive at our office and organizing vital items/supplies to send with them on the rest of their journey.
"If you would like to donate to the supply efforts, we are currently in need of:
- Clean, reusable totes
- Packages of men and women’s underwear
- Packages of t-shirts
- Packages of socks
- Travel-size toiletries (shampoo, body wash, deodorant, toothpaste)
- Toothbrushes & travel cap/cases
- Diapers/wipes for infants
- Protein bars, nut mixes, etc.
"We will be receiving additional donations at our office on 809 S Willow St. beginning Monday, Aug. 15. For questions regarding donations/additional support, please reach out to us via direct message on our social channels (@lapazchatt) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) said the Texas governor was "using vulnerable Individuals as political footballs."
The group said, "People have the right to seek asylum in a country where they feel safe. An individual’s right to seek international protection is upheld by U.S. law which recognizes the right to present oneself at the border to seek protection. These people are exercising their rights under U.S. and international law.
“Tennessee has a long history of welcoming and providing refuge to those in need, from Cuban political asylees in the 1960s to welcoming Afghan parolees and refugees from around the world. This moment is an opportunity for us to live up to the ideals of our nations by welcoming these families with dignity and kindness.
"No matter what it is that brought families here, our local communities and the state of Tennessee has a moral obligation to ensure that everyone is treated with human dignity and has access to shelter, legal services, service coordination, healthcare, reproductive health services, mental health services, and education.
"While Governor Abbot is using vulnerable individuals as a political football, Chattanooga – and Tennessee - should rise above and lead with our values and welcome our new neighbors with dignity.”