History of the Respite Center

The Humanitarian Respite Center (HRC) was initiated as a direct response to the refugee relief crisis that began in June of 2014 in the Rio Grande Valley and since has served 100,000 refugees. The individuals tended to at the HRC include men, women and children. Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley (CCRGV) is the first point of contact for these individuals when they are released from the immigration detention centers. CCRGV provides basic human care to refugees and their families from other countries seeking asylum in the United States. These refugees are victims of past persecution or have well-founded fear of future persecution. Refugees flee from human traffickers, domestic violence, organized crime, gang violence and extreme poverty. The HRC provides refugees compassionate care via a safe environment, legal orientation and general information, a warm meal and water, hygiene products and a warm shower, a clean change of clothes, temporary shelter, medical supplies and assistance if needed and transportation services. The target population are recently detained individuals primarily from Central America, that are about to be released by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and are referred to our agency from their local detention centers.

The HRC receives daily groups of 80 to 200 refugees and immigrants recently released by ICE. These individuals and/or families seeking asylum arrive at different times of the day and stay approximately 24 hours at the center, before they are transported back to the McAllen Bus Station to travel to their particular final destinations. In addition to serving immigrant families, the Humanitarian Respite Center has provided a space for visiting volunteers, university students, NGO’s, Government Officials and the community at large, coming within all 50 states to learn more about immigration and the current refugee relief crisis faced at the border. This experience has also given people of all ages and professions an opportunity to foster relationships and dialogue about immigration across various local, state and national levels.


Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley (CCRGV) is planning to build a new, two story, 15000+ sq. ft building to house the Respite Center that will respond to the humanitarian needs for refugees and immigrants arriving to our community coming across the Texas / Mexico border. CCRGV has purchased a property in the City of McAllen in Hidalgo County, Texas for this purpose. The property has the remains of an old restaurant building with a smaller warehouse that sit on the northwest corner of the property by Chicago Ave. and 16th. St. It is located in the heart of downtown, two blocks away from the McAllen Bus Station. Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, under the guidance of Georgetown University, hopes to create plans for the new HRC in McAllen, Texas.

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