As part of a global network, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams have long delivered humanitarian relief to refugees, migrants and asylum seekers around the world.
Here at home, the American Red Cross provides humanitarian aid to migrants in a number of ways such as responding to requests for cots, blankets, hygiene items and other support from organizations assisting migrant families on the southwest border. As these organizations have become increasingly strained by the surge of people in need, we are increasing this vital assistance.
Here are more details about how the American Red Cross helps refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in the United States:
During natural disasters or other emergencies, the Red Cross does not turn people away who need help. People who have disaster-related needs are not required to be American citizens in order to access Red Cross services. That means that when hurricanes, wildfires, or floods strike, we offer help regardless of immigration status. That includes access to assistance such as emergency shelter, food, first aid, clean-up kits, and comfort. The Red Cross does not ask families to show identification in order to stay in our shelters.
Every year, people lose touch with their loved ones as a result of conflict, disaster or migration. The three simple words, “I am alive” may be all that’s needed to ease the minds of parents, children, and siblings. That’s why the American Red Cross has, for decades, reconnected separated family members around the world and helped people search for missing loved ones.
As part of our Restoring Family Links program, the American Red Cross provides peace of mind to thousands of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in the United States by helping them reconnect with their families abroad. We can leverage the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network to help people trace separated family members—which can take years. The American Red Cross offers this tracing service all across the United States. People looking for loved ones separated by international conflict, disaster or migration can call our helpline at 844-782-9441 or visit their local Red Cross chapter.
Other times, the Red Cross empowers people to call their families back home and assure them that they are safe. Use of a phone—which is a seemingly small intervention—can be crucial for the physical and mental well-being of migrants’ and refugees’ families back home. In 2018, the American Red Cross facilitated more than 9,000 phone calls of migrants and refugees in the United States.
Read about two sisters reunited after 72 years.
A recent surge in migrant arrivals has put a strain on organizations housing asylum seekers along the southwest border. Given the humanitarian needs, the American Red Cross will increase our aid to these organizations by offering cots, blankets, hygiene items and training support. In line with our existing work, the American Red Cross will also help reconnect family members who have lost touch with their loved ones during migration. Some of the organizations we are working with include Catholic Charities, Gathering Humanity, and Annunciation House.
Red Cross Principles
As part of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network, the American Red Cross is guided by the seven fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. This means we provide services to people who need them in times of emergency—regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or citizenship status.
For more about our work on the US/Mexico border, see https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/press-release/2018/american-red-cross-statement-on-border-and-immigration-issues.html.