Summer Update: The Face of Jesus on the Border
by Rev. Feliberto Pereira. Executive Director, Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
You may be feeling in turmoil from the news cycles that move faster than we can think or process. You may be wondering exactly what is happening, as it is hard to discern from afar. As you are people who live your life in love, you are likely wondering what you can do to support our brothers and sisters who are seeking asylum in our country. We all have ringing in our ears and in our hearts, the call of our Lord (John 3:17): But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
A Quick Update on What is Happening on the Border
The U.S. Government is releasing people on parole from detention when they have family members or friends to take them in. There are often hundreds of people released every day. These refugees are taken from detention to the bus stations in either McAllen or Brownsville. Most of these people, many of them families with children, have little more than the clothes on their backs.
The quality of care in the detention centers varies. Thank the Lord, we are not seeing in the Valley the kinds of difficulties that are being highlighted on the news in the El Paso area. Nonetheless, we hear from refugees that the detention centers are crowded, the food is not very good, and there is little to no opportunity to bathe. Duration in a detention center is highly variable, anywhere from a couple of days to weeks.
What is SWGSM Doing to Support Today’s Refugees?
Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries visits the bus stations and respite centers to provide our brothers and sisters with food, clothing, medicine, diapers, and other necessities. We buy bus tickets for people to reach their loved ones. By the end of June, we spent $42,000 in monetary aid for refugees. Please consider sending money that might be used for bus tickets to help our brothers and sisters to their next place of safety. It truly is a way for us to be present for a re-birth.
Sometimes refugees are here just for a few hours, in which case, it is essential to get food and some travel items (diapers, soap, underwear, toothbrushes) to people while they are at the bus stop. Some must wait overnight, especially if they are released late in the day. These people spend the night in shelters or a respite center.”
Global Ministries welcomes gifts in support of Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries (SGSM) – please put SGSM in the Project/Partner box if giving online or in the memo line if giving by check. Gifts also are welcome to One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC) for humanitarian responses within the United States in the asylum-seeking crisis, and to Week of Compassion (Disciples) with the designation Refugees.