Get Involved

Support Needed for Homeless Scholars

Did you know that according to the National Center for Educational Statistics in 2014-15 there were more than 1.2 million public school students who were homeless in the United States? That number represents 2.5 percent of the total number of students enrolled in public schools in our nation. And, since 2015, the number of homeless students throughout our country has been increasing.

In Las Cruces, in any given year, there are approximately 90 to 100 students who are homeless. Of that total, 25 to 30 are high school seniors. This sad reality means that when the school day is over, these students must find a place to do homework and a place to sleep – either in their car or in a local park. Some are able to crash on a friend’s couch maybe for a night or two. Unfortunately, meals are often few and far between and fast food restaurants provide the only nutrition they receive outside of school hours and on weekends.

The reasons for homelessness in our community are many and complex. The students who are homeless often find themselves in circumstances beyond their control. Many have lost their parents through incarceration, deportation, substance abuse or death. These scholars are hardworking, resilient and are striving to make a better life for themselves. Each year, many homeless high school seniors (85 to 90 percent) actually graduate. Many go on to enter college, find full-time jobs, or join the military.

We at Catholic Charities hope that you will reflect on the joy and blessings in your own life while also being aware of homeless students in our community. Donations are needed. You can help by donating gift cards (Walmart, Target, Supercuts, Marshalls), or hygiene products such as toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, deodorant or female hygiene items.

Donations can be dropped off with Terriane Morrison Everhart at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services at 424 North Main Street, Suite 100, Las Cruces, NM 88001 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Also, cash donations which will allow us to provide a student with a hotel room can be made through Catholic Charities’ website (www.catholiccharitiesdlc.org/donate). Select Support for Scholars from the drop down menu.

Dreamers: These are our children and this is their home

Last September, President Trump laid down the marker of March 5, 2018 for final resolution of the fate of hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — young persons more affectionately known as “Dreamers.”

One may disagree with the manner and soundness of rescinding this program, but everyone can agree that it is the responsibility of Congress to provide clear legal status for these individuals brought to the United States of America by their parents at a young age. Our elected officials must not fail to get this done.

As the clock continues to tick towards the deadline, polls show that a legislative fix that would allow the Dreamers to remain without fear in the only country most have really known and loved is supported by a majority of Americans. This support is founded upon the great economic and social contributions Dreamers have made to their communities and the outstanding achievements they have attained as students, professionals, entrepreneurs, and members of the military, not to mention many other occupations.

At Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico, we have proudly served hundreds of DACA recipients and seen these positive contributions first hand. The prospect of deportation for these law-abiding individuals should not be a consideration. These are our children and this is their home.

The special circumstances surrounding this unique population and the obvious benefits they bring deserve a discussion and resolution apart from the more contentious issues that have characterized the immigration debate for many years. It also presents an extraordinary opportunity for policymakers to show that they can indeed come together across the aisle and do the right thing.

Our hope and prayer is that our “better instincts” will prevail and our nation will once again provide a shining example to the rest of the world that the United States is still a great land of welcome and opportunity. Please write or call your representatives in Congress to urge them to protect our brothers and sisters, our children, the Dreamers.