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Catholic Charity Steps Up to Help Families in Crisis at the Border

Migrants walk on a dirt road after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Mission, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The journey to the U.S. is difficult for any migrant hoping to come into the country, but it's especially hard for those under the age of six.  

A CBN News team on the southern border saw that first hand this week when they visited the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley's Humanitarian Crisis Respite Center

"Any kid under the age of six is not allowed back into Mexico and so therefore we are seeing this high number of families in the United States because they're released so they can continue their legal proceedings here," Sister Norma Pimentel told CBN News. "We take them from the border patrol so we can make sure they're safe because they're moms and children and families that are exposed to great dangers and traffickers and others that want to take advantage of them."

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Pimentel said she's most concerned for the young babies making the trip. 

"Children – that's what concerns me are the babies," continued Pimentel. "They need milk, they need things and so being able to provide them enough water, enough food, enough things mom will need."

Families are given a COVID-19 test when they first arrive at the center. Those who pass come in for respite until they figure out where they are going.

"They get a chance to eat, to take a shower, to change clothing to get what a family needs that has been traveling for a while," explained Pimentel.

Pimentel said the families who test positive for COVID-19 are taken to a hotel that allows COVID-19 cases and they are cared for by the Catholic Charities until they recover.

"It is our responsibility whether laws, policies, responses, whatever we do, we don't lose sight of their humanity because then we lose our humanity in the process," she noted. "We as people of the church are here to show that we're in solidarity with them, we're here to be present with them, to accompany them in their struggles, in their pain, and in their successes."

Despite reports of record numbers of people crossing the border, Pimentel told CBN News they've seen higher numbers before. 

"Yesterday was 600. Today was 700. But you know, we haven't reached those high numbers that we did in 2019 in the previous administration. But if things go, moving forward, more than likely we'll see those same numbers later in the year," believes Pimentel.

Pimentel said she hopes the Biden administration addresses the reason why the migrants are fleeing their homes.

"It's important to know who enters our country, keep our people safe, but the problem, the reality of why people are coming – that's what needs to be addressed so that people don't have to come," Pimentel said. "They don't feel forced to leave what's happening in their country."

She also encouraged Americans not to be afraid of those coming into the country.

"My message to the American public is not to be afraid of human life, especially because they're not criminals," Pimentel said. "We as people of the church are here to show that we're in solidarity with them. We're here to be present with them, to accompany them in their struggles, in their pain, and in their successes."

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