The largest Latino evangelical organization in the United States is helping migrants in the caravan with assorted needs as they remain near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Thousands of migrants from Central America have camped along the U.S. southern border, prompting immigration officials to close down a border crossing near Tijuana, Mexico, for five hours on Sunday, and even to fire tear gas into crowds to disperse them.
The incident added to the heated debate over the treatment of the migrant caravan, with many criticizing President Donald Trump and Border Patrol for their reaction to the immigrants as they attempted to enter the United States.
Churches and clergy affiliated with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference have been on the ground with those in the caravan, according to the organization’s president, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez.
“Our Mexico chapter, led by Pastor Fermin Garcia, is helping those who are in the caravan and those waiting to be processed for asylum,” Rodriguez explained to The Christian Post in an interview Tuesday.
“Our network of member churches on the U.S. side of the border is mobilizing to meet the needs of immigrants.”
Rodriguez noted that this network has been developing for years, “but in greater and greater measure since the child separation crisis earlier this year.”
“These churches are being the hands and feet of Jesus, meeting the very practical, immediate needs of people who have recently crossed into the U.S.,” continued Rodriguez, who is also an editorial adviser for The Christian Post.
Rodriguez told CP that while he was disturbed by the images of border patrol members firing tear gas into the immigrants, he felt it was important “to acknowledge that a small minority of those inside the caravan threw rocks and projectiles at border agents.”
“Our law enforcement personnel have to be able to protect themselves, and that means dispersing a crowd when it becomes violent. It’s an unfortunate, pressurized situation that is ultimately bad for both the U.S. government and the people attempting to cross,” he said.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski