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Native American ‘Aunties’ Raise Funds to Feed Migrants

A group of Native American women from several tribes in Oklahoma have launched a nonprofit organization they’re calling the “A Quiche indigenous woman faces a monument that pays homage to migrants from the town of Salcaja, at the entrance to the town in Guatemala, June 7, 2019. Central Americans still dream of reaching the United States as Mexico cracks down on migration.”But I’m hearing it more and more from Native American activists who say that before the Europeans came, we were all indigenous people, so there’s that shared history of kinship,” Leza said.It is not known what percentage of migrant detainees are indigenous, but a A migrant family from Central America waits outside the Annunciation House shelter in El Paso, Texas, Nov. 29, 2018, after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer drops them off.Cathy Nestlen, a spokesperson for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma (RFBO), part of greater Feeding America network, explained how the Aunties’ donations will be spent.”The Auntie Project is helping us to offset the cost that we have incurred towards food that we take to Texas,” Nestlen said. “The El Paso Food Bank been working with other nonprofits in the community because some migrant families are being released into the community as they await whatever the court system has in place for them. There’s nowhere for them to go, so the nonprofits and churches in El Paso provide them housing and food.”The Aunties’ donations won’t reach thousands of unaccompanied minors picked up by U.S. immigration officials and transferred to any of more than 170 HHS child shelters in 23 states — 30 in Texas alone — as none of them accept donations.Central American migrants wait for food in a pen erected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to process a surge of migrant families and unaccompanied minors in El Paso, Texas, March 27, 2019.That’s because legislation passed in 1870, the so-called Antideficiency Act, bans government workers and agencies from accepting or spending any money above what Congress gives them or accepting volunteer workers. The law came in response to 19th century abuses — agencies allowed themselves to run out of money early, assuming Congress would allocate more funds to keep them running. Texas Representatives Chip Roy, a Republican, and Vincente Gonzalez, a Democrat, have introduced twin bills that would allow ORR shelters to accept donations, but analysts say neither stands much chance of passing.On Sunday, the Aunties will hold a fundraiser, where they will present the RFBO with a check for $10,000, the first, they hope, of many.”Our goal right now is sustainability,” Cobb-Greetham said. “We would like to think that 20 years from now, something comes up and people might say, ‘Oh, you should call the Aunties!'”

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