How a border shelter for pregnant migrants came to life


Karina Breceda has lived her entire life in two cities, El Paso and Juarez, Mexico. For her, her life happens on both sides, so there are few days when she doesn’t cross her borders.

“I don’t think people realize how close cities are. There’s only one wall separating them. We’re just one big city,” says Breceda.

The 29-year-old Texas native travels from one country to another every day to prepare new shelters for women and children.

About 11 years ago, Breseda started volunteering at a border clinic. She works at a shelter, teaches women’s health classes, and takes her children in while coordinating services for immigrants.

“I can’t even explain. It was like stepping into something. This is exactly where I should be,” Breseda said.

Her family was active in the anti-abortion movement and this shaped her dedication to the vulnerable. And that led her to her mission to help pregnant immigrant women.

“Life protection is from conception to natural death. rice field.

In 2019, she helped expand the San Juan Catholic Church’s shelter program, converting part of the church into a boarding house and cafeteria. She realized that although she had the resources and ability, she lacked the space for greater impact.

In 2020, Breseda partnered with New Wave Feminists, a Dallas-based organization that wanted to build a women’s immigrant shelter in Juarez. Breceda is now a board member of the organization.

Over the past year, Breseda and her group have been working to find and purchase properties that meet the unique needs of pregnant asylum seekers. They found the perfect property in April, but were unable to close the property until November.

The facility, scheduled to open in January, has a long-term capacity of 40 to 60 women and children, with extra space to accommodate a surge in immigration. The shelter will be equipped with clinics for gynecological, sexual assault, prenatal and mental health needs. The shelter, led by Breseda as executive director, begins accepting women in groups of ten.

Her work came at a time when a surge in immigration was important to all Texans. Individual struggles are often lost in the turmoil of border politics. But personal plight is exactly why Breseda does what she does. It’s her selfless compassion for the forgotten that made her a finalist. dallas morning news Texas of the Year.

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