As President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy continues to face immense backlash across the country, his daughter Ivanka Trump donated $50,000 last week to Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano to help the church’s efforts to care for children separated from their families along the border.
Pastor Jack Graham said Ivanka Trump first learned about the church’s campaign after he tweeted last Tuesday that he is trying to find a solution to the “terrible immigration crisis” emerging on the state’s southern border. She promptly reached out to Graham, who has led the church for nearly 30 years, and made a personal donation of $50,000, according to a news release.
“The beauty of America and the people in our church is that we don’t have to wait for our politicians to sort out their disagreements in order to do what is right,” Graham said in the release. “Our country is facing complex issues that will take time to fix, but this shouldn’t delay or stop our response to the needs of others.”
During his service Sunday, Graham said he and evangelical advisers will conduct video conference calls with leaders from other churches and federal officials in South Texas to determine what efforts are needed and how churches can respond.
Gilberto Corredera, Prestonwood en Español pastor, and other church leaders will join Graham on an assessment trip to Brownsville, with a date to be set, with the administration’s other informal evangelical advisers.
The team, including Prestonwood associate pastor David Shivers and state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, will fly to McAllen before heading to Brownsville to visit detention centers.
They will also plan an event the first week of July for children still detained in the centers, Graham said.
“What the kids really need most is someone to brighten their day. They need someone to give them hope,” he said in the news release. “Our plan is to create an event for the children that will encourage them and make them smile. Of course, we will also focus on how we can provide financial aid to families to assist them in their situation.”
Graham’s social media post about the church’s campaign and Ivanka Trump’s donation occurred days before the president signed an executive order ending his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border. The policy calls for all adults caught crossing the border illegally to face criminal prosecution.
Since it went into effect in April, 2,300 migrant children have been separated from their parents, and a senior Trump administration official on Thursday said about 500 of them have been reunited since last month.
A spokesman for the church said that in addition to Ivanka Trump’s donation, the campaign has received nearly $20,000 from around 20 individual donors. Anyone interested in helping can donate at prestonwood.org/give.