Christian shelters along the US-Mexico border were preparing to help immigrants as the Biden administration expected to end a pandemic-era emergency rule Title 42, halting the entry of individuals into the U.S. to preserve public health.
After an immigration process, the Border Patrol dropped people in shelters like one near the El Paso border. Pastor Kelly Knott, an overseer of a shelter ministry by 84 churches in El Paso Baptist Association and Southern Baptists in the country, told CBN News that the shelter was just one of the stops on their trip from anywhere they were coming from. Migrants then travel across the country to visit relatives or other sponsors.
Showing People 'The Love of God'
Showers, accommodation, meals, clothing, and transportation to the El Paso airport and bus station were all available at the shelter. Knott said that they aimed to show the people the love of God whenever they stop at the shelter. Apart from the needs provided, Knott said they were also sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. According to him, many of them were receptive and accepted the good news.
Knott said their ministry's main concern as Title 42 ends, their capacity was currently full. However, he expressed that they're going to help in little ways that they can.
Annunciation House Founder Ruben Garcia said there's a rise in the number of families being dropped in their hub. He explained the rise in numbers to an increasing number of countries refusing to accept the migrants that the US deported like Nicaragua, Venezuela, Turkey, and Cuba. However, the Biden administration promised them exemptions if they stayed in Mexico for a while. Yet Garcia said being compelled to become a refugee in Mexico was risky right now.
Garcia claimed that his faith inspired him to care for migrants who sometimes arrive with the fewest belongings. Referencing Matthew 25, he said that God interacts with the least person among the crowd.
Martha Lay, a volunteer who had worked with migrants for years, said she was compelled by her faith to help brothers and sisters in whatever she can do. Lay had served in the clothing ministry, providing changed clothes to people in need after a long and difficult journey.
Aiming For Permanent Solutions
These shelters also showed immense cooperation with the Border Patrol and local ministries.
Hope Border Institute Executive Director Dylan Corbett said their untold story might lead the way for more permanent solutions. Their community that continuously works for immigration enforcement seeks reforms from the government. Corbett said that they have to find solutions to apply them at the local level.
Just like Garcia who hoped for more faith-based shelters in Denver and Dallas to open as the number of immigrants rises to avoid overcrowding in the El Paso shelters, being stranded because out of tickets or bus out of town. He suggested the need for transportation for migrants to other cities, so the shelters will be less congested while starting their new life in other areas.