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Closed Door for Ministries That Want to Help Children on the Border


Albert Reyes leads Buckner International, a Texas-based Christian non-profit that spends $39 million a year helping children mainly in Texas and six other countries. 

For the last week, he has struggled to find out what's happening with the more than 2,300 children that the US government has taken from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

"It's really been hard to figure out," Reyes told CBN News

"Our friends and donors who care about children have been calling," he explained, "I've had donors say 'I'll go rock babies, take toys' – just because of the heartfelt need."

At the least, Reyes thought that Buckner could donate children's shoes and hygiene kits, something the organization keeps in stock at all times.

After unsuccessful inquiries with various federal agencies in Washington, Buckner's staff went directly to Border Patrol in McAllen, a Texas town right on the border. "I was really astonished," Reyes said, "what we got back was 'no thanks we don't need help.'"

Baptist pastors in Texas have also found themselves unable to access the young children, which an Associated Press story describes as under five in some cases. 

Ali Corona with the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission has been talking with pastors in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso area. She says they've made repeated attempts to visit with the children or provide help of some kind but have not found a way to access or help them. "It's this constant state of 'yeah, we're not able to get in, we don't know what's happening and we want to help'" she said, describing what the pastors have told her.

"As believers, we want to get in there – comforting, praying and serving," she said.

Matt Soerens, the US director of church mobilization for World Relief, flew to Tornillo, Texas on Thursday where the government is detaining immigrant children it has separated from their families. Soerens didn't expect to gain access to the children and said "part of that is legitimate – for their privacy. There are people that want to do them harm." He told CBN News he hoped to get more information about how to help the children and thought that maybe World Relief could provide legal services.

Soerens said he wasn't sure why so many immigrants have flocked to the US-Mexico border in recent months. "I haven't heard any single factor that explains it," he said. 

Soerens said he doubted that the family separation policy would deter those fleeing violence in Central America. The only way it could deter them from entering the US, he said, is if it encouraged them to seek asylum in another country.

In the meantime, Reyes said that Buckner is unsure of its next move. "We really don't have anything to say to our donors in terms of how to support," he said, "We're kind of caught between a rock and a hard place. There's no request for any support or aid at all."

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