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Nogales Arrival

Breathe. Know that your family and community are holding you in their thoughts and prayers and it is your own inner strength that will get you through this difficult transition.  To stay safe, make a friend on the bus or plane, stick together to support each other. Be alert and calm, blend in and comply with authority. Avoid casual street encounters, including eye contact. Be prepared for bribes, have $40-100 in cash in $10s & $20s kept in different pockets. Beware of criminal elements, don’t use an offered cell phone to call your family. Have contact information for your family in Mexico and all documents that prove your identity and deportation status on you, not in your bag.

**Security Cautions Specific to Nogales **

— Do not go out alone.

— Do not go near the border as the cartels believe they control the border area and anyone or anything within it.

— Only use the phones at Kino.  On the street, coyotes will offer help in making calls.  If their phones are used then they have the numbers of family and friends who have been called.

— Do not accept work from someone on the street.  This is often a ruse for kidnapping.

— Take care of money concerns at Kino (receiving money, cashing checks) and be careful not to talk with others or loudly on the phone about receiving money.

— Do not take taxis as not all are legitimate.


Repatriation Center

Outside:  Busses pull up at the border.  People are unshackled and directed off the bus.  Any belongings, which are probably in clear plastic bags, can be picked up at this time.


People enter the Repatriation Center for processing:

  • You will receive at the Constancia de Repatriación with your photo, personal information including length of time in the U.S., where you had been living, and a recap of your deportation details.  This document (an 8-1/2 x 11 paper) is not a valid I.D. but is required in order to receive services from the Consulate and Kino Border Initiative, also called the “Comedor.”

  • There is a Red Cross station at the repatriation center for immediate medical needs, including transportation to a hospital if required.

  • You will be asked: “Do you want a ride to the Comedor?”  The response should be “YES!,” even if not hungry. The “Comedor” is the Kino Border Initiative where multiple services are available.

In order to obtain a valid I.D., a birth certificate is required.  This can be obtained online or with assistance at Kino.

The Mexican Consulate in Nogales will pay for a bus ticket to a person’s home city/state. They will only provide this support once in someone’s life and only if the person has their repatriation document. At different times of the year they have more or less budget money available, so sometimes they will prioritize women and injured individuals.


Kino Border Initiative (the “Comedor”) and on Facebook

Edificio 3, Dept. 401

Colonia Fovissste II, C.P. 84020

Nogales, Sonora

(631) 316-2086 (If dialing from the U.S. or if using a U.S. phone in Mexico: 011-52 (631) 316-2086)

Daily Routine:

  • A morning meal is offered daily. During the meal, there are welcomes, introductions to the staff and volunteers, a review of their rights as Mexican citizens and a rundown of the services provided at Kino. After the meal, people seek out what services they need that day. New arrivals meet with a staff member to have their situation documented.  One short intake is completed.


  • Women’s and children’s shelters are located nearby.  There is a 7 night limit, although a longer stay may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Men are currently sheltered at Albergue Juan Bosco which has a 3 night limit.  (Kino is building a men’s shelter of its own across the street from the Comedor.)


Additional assistance available:

  • Election Credential (INE)—the official photo I.D.  A birth certificate is required. Help in obtaining the birth certificate and the INE is offered.

  • Money - It is generally not possible to bring money in (or, more accurately, to leave the U.S. with it).  People may have checks from their detention centers. Volunteers at Kino take care of getting these cashed.  The same goes if people receive money orders from family in the U.S. There is a lot of caution taken around making sure that the person is able to obtain his/her funds without losing the money.

  • Phones and internet are available at the Comedor.  Volunteers help with searches for family members (often via Facebook) if phone numbers are not known.

  • Personal Items - A limited selection of clothing, shoes and toiletries are available.

  • Medical Care - Volunteers can administer over-the-counter medicines and check blood levels.  Volunteer doctors and nurses come to the Comedor regularly to administer drugs, including insulin and inhalers.  A person’s ability to bring their prescriptions with them is limited. If possible to bring a written prescription, that helps in the process of obtaining necessary medicines.

  • Transport around Nogales is provided by Grupo Beto, located nearby.

  • Work - There are many employment options in factories, but they pay very little.  It is difficult to afford rent and food on those wages. People who speak fluent English often work at RDI Communications, which is an English language call center. Wages are much lower than in the U.S. but higher than the factories.

drawing of a valley with text saying Crossing South
Crossing South: A guide for people returning to Central America

You and your family may be faced with the possibility of returning, either voluntarily or due to deportation, to the country of your birth.  If you are facing this possibility, you should plan ahead so that the process can be as simple and safe as possible for you and your family.