By Manny Fernandez, nytimes.com
They arrive a few dozen at a time, their children by their side, their belongings in government-issued plastic bags.
The immigrants who step inside a Catholic Charities relief center in this South Texas border city are the focus of national controversy, but their concerns are more logistical than political. One of the first things they do after sitting down is fix their shoes — most have spent a few days in federal detention before coming here; they had to remove their shoelaces, and now they sit in the center’s blue hard-backed chairs, tying up their shoes.
Dozens of immigrants, mostly from Central America, have been crossing illegally here every day, most of them scooped up by federal Border Patrol agents, given a court date and an ankle bracelet monitoring device, and dropped off at the downtown bus station. From there, they are led by volunteers to the nearby relief center, where they put their belts back on, eat a bowl of cereal, sort through donated clothes and change their infants’ diapers.