Kelly Escobar

Kelly Escobar, Columbus homemaker, was in the throes of United States’ Independence Day on July 4, 2019, yet feeling helpless because of the news that U.S. detention camps were turning people away who  were trying to donate necessities to children separated and jailed by Trump’s Zero Tolerance immigration policy. 

She was baffled by the cruelty of our government as it justified family separation and locking kids up on concrete floors without beds or proper blankets, other than an aluminum “space blanket” to keep them warm. 

That was the day Ms. Escobar also found out about makeshift camps full of people on the Mexican side of the border and reports that the growing number there were stuck in limbo for months awaiting their chance to make application for asylum. 

She saw this as an opportunity to help...not stateside, but on the Mexican side.

She emptied her bank account, packed her bags and possessions in her car and drove to a camp in Matamoros, Mexico, located just south of the Brownsville, Texas border. 

She arrived at the Puente Nuevo migrant camp and coordinated with other organizations from the U.S. side of the frontera to help the asylum seekers with the most basic necessities. Buying supplies for the camp caused her money to run out quickly. She opened a free store in her tent. She sold her car to fund other projects in the camp. With no water system, hygienic facilities, or a kitchen, she faced daunting challenges.

The camp is located on Mexico’s federal land. Some people are housed in tents, but many have none.

The weather is brutal in all aspects – muddy when wet and dusty when dry. But the major challenge is the housing, feeding and tending to a camp of 2,000 people. Half of the camp are children, from newborn to age 17. Many are disabled. Many are indigenous with minimal Spanish skills. All are poor and desperate, attempting to escape drought, political tyranny, sexual exploitation or ruthless gangs. All know that there might only be a jail cell waiting for them in the U.S. but believing that it would be much better than what they were facing in their native lands.

Kelly Escobar will be reporting back to the Columbus Free Press as she travels back to Matamoros, Mexico at the time of this printing. She has heard that in the two weeks since she has been gone that the camp has grown by 500 occupants. Very few, if any, have been allowed to complete the complicated asylum process developed by the Trump administration. 

Kelly asks for readers of the Columbus Free Press to help with a small donation. Anything would help and is needed today. Supplies are easier to purchase on the Mexican side of the border, so cash is what they need the most. Her organization has a donate button via GoFundMe at the Facebook Page: Love Without Lines/Amor Sin Lineas, or on the website