Asylum Seeker Assistance Project

Albuquerque is preparing to receive asylum seekers from the U.S. southern border.

Due to the changes at the border, Albuquerque is not hosting asylum seekers at this time. If the situation changes, we will post updates on  this page. Volunteers and donation efforts are currently on hold.

Our close proximity to the border means that Albuquerque is an important crossroads for refugees from Central America who are legally seeking asylum. ICE screens the refugees, processes their request for asylum, and releases them on their own recognizance. To keep them from being released onto the street, churches and non-profit organizations in El Paso have organized a hospitality network. When they exceed their capacity, they reach out to the faith community in Albuquerque for help. Asylum seekers come through Albuquerque for a night or two and then continue on their journey to all parts of the United States. They travel by bus and airplane with the help of family or friends who have agreed to sponsor them. They travel by bus and airplane with help of their sponsors.

In our experience, those traveling tend to be a parent with a child, ranging in age from infants to teens. They are tired and hungry, but in good spirits and grateful for the warm hospitality they receive in Albuquerque. With the weather warming up, we can expect more asylum seekers and a larger need for more volunteers to consider how they can help.


On behalf of Mayor Keller, we thank you for helping us share this opportunity with the larger community to get involved in any way they can as we help families who are fleeing hunger and violence to find peace and love. Please share this message with your community and invite them to contact us for more information.


Michelle Melendez, Director, CABQ Office of Equity and Inclusion

Beatriz Elena Valencia, Liaison, CABQ Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

How We Helped in 2019

  • Hospitality sites were needed to provide shelter for 2-4 nights, while the refugees waited for their sponsors to purchase bus or plane tickets for them to travel to where their sponsors live in the U.S. This included:
    • An intake process
    • Access to showers and cots/beds
    • Spanish speaking volunteer to help connect families with their sponsors and help arrange travel.
  • Each hospitality site needed a site coordinator who received training on how to manage a team of 15-20 volunteers at a hospitality site. Site coordinators dedicated up to 20-hours per week, or more. Spanish-fluency was a must for this role, as was volunteer management experience and shift work that includes daytime, evenings and weekends.
  • Shuttle transportation from the hospitality sites to the Greyhound bus station and to Sunport airport. Church vans were ideal for this purpose especially during peak travel times of 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Donations were appreciated, especially monetary to help cover the cost of hotels. Groups of volunteers who didn't have a suitable space to shelter refugees have used budget hotels for convenience because they provide beds, linens, showers, and space for feeding groups. The cost of hotels averaged at $2,000 per group of 50 refugees for the 2-4 night average stay.