Immigrant Assistance Organizations >> Mexicans

There . Here

This page explores immigrant assistance organizations that exist in Mexico and in America, as well as some assistance provided during the migration process. They have played a key role in the lives Mexican migrants and have eased the transition to America. 




Coyotes assist immigrants in crossing the border to the United States. Fees vary depending on whether the migrant or his family knows the coyote or whether the coyote has previously provided services to the migrant or his/her relatives. Coyote fees have increased because it is now harder to cross due to Border Patrol and the construction of the fence. They have risen from $500 in the 1990's to over $2000 today (Good neighbours make fences 2008).  There are a variety of ways in which coyotes can help one cross. For example, they smuggle migrants in vehicles or take them through the desert.

Founded in 2004, this group describe themselves as “a coalition of individuals, faith communities, human rights advocates and grassroots organizers” (Hellman 2008:99). They are concerned with the rising death toll due to the tightening of the border, which has led many potential migrants to cross using the desert. The organization set up aid stations in the desert on both sides of the Rio Grande, and “patrols” walk through the routes. They leave bottles of water and “migrant packs” under trees. These packs include socks, crackers, apple sauce, granola, sports drinks, canned tuna or chicken, and sausage. People in churches put these packs together. They also clean up the desert by picking up garbage left behind. In addition, they provide aid to anyone they find in need of assistance; for example, giving them food and water, fixing any injuries, or aiding the weak and sick (Hellman 2008:99-100).

Different forms of assistance exist in Mexico. Schools educate the children, but somewhat problematically, when it comes to the indigenous population. In the later 1960s, primary school textbooks focused on Mestizo history and pushed indigenous peoples to assimilate. Today, schools and other government-sponsored programs are encouraging them to preserve their indigenous heritage (Friedlander 2006:140-141). Since the Mexican Revolution, cultural missions have been going to indigenous communities with a double message: sometimes urging the Indians to preserve their culture, at other times to assimilate into the dominant culture of Mexico. They do, however, provide assistance, such as introducing modern medicine to these areas. Finally, Catholic Churches provide Mexicans with a sense of community and spiritual guidance (Friedlander 2006:124-125). 




This nonprofit organization provides a wide range of services for the poor of Staten Island. It is funded by religious groups, private foundations, and New York City under Mayor Bloomberg.  Since Staten Island is often viewed as populated by middle-class whites, this region is underfunded and does not have adequate public facilities or resources, such as hospitals or homeless shelters, for low-income residents (Hellman 2008:148-148). Project Hospitality attempts to fill this gap, and consequently services undocumented immigrants. Some of its services include helping immigrants claim back pay, report abuses experienced at work, and deal with landlords. They offer language classes and basic medical care and tests, give information on how to enroll kids in school, and give legal information regarding citizenship and the rights of immigrants. They also collect donated food and clothing to distribute to those lacking these things (Hellman 2008:147-148).


This association was founded on September 6, 1997, and it is described as a network of nongovernmental, nonprofit organizations whose mission is to promote social welfare and human rights, primarily those of New York’s undocumented immigrants, especially Mexican immigrants (Hellman 2008:153). The association started very small, but gained financial support from the Archdiocese of New York through the Catholic Charities program to truly get it off the ground.  The Virgin of Guadalupe is a symbol of the organization because it "has become a symbol of protest and unification for Mexicans who find themselves both there and here" (Fox and Rivera-Salgado 2004:422). The assistance that it offers to immigrants includes ESL courses, health-care information, and voter registration for citizens. Its primary focus is human rights advocacy, especially labor rights (Hellman 2008:155). It catered to the needs of those who worked at Ground Zero after 9/11, such as providing physical and psychological health care. It also has cultural programs that uphold Mexican traditions and religion.

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The mission of Casa Puebla New York is “to guide and support” the Mexican people in the northeast. They are active in the community and preserve Mexican values, traditions, and customs. They want to make the Mexican presence in the US known by working toward equality for Mexicans by promoting human values to reduce social problems. To maintain traditions, they have workshops, classes, and exhibits about Mexican culture. These workshops include things like how to make a piñata. In addition, they hold parties for celebrations, such as Cinco de Mayo and Dia de Meurtos (

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Since Mexicans are largely Catholic, churches often support nonprofit organizations. For example, they provided funds for Tepeyac, and people volunteer in churches to assemble the "migrant packs" that NMD gives out to those struggling in the desert (Hellman 2008:99,153). Godparents are also a Catholic tradition, as they are selected for the sacrament of Baptism. Godparents frequently come to the aid of migrants because they want their godchildren to rise above themselves in social and economic status. They can provide financial assistance or serve as a figure one can turn to in times of need.