The Hill | Hispanic evangelical group offers to provide shelter, aid to migrant children

The largest Hispanic evangelical organization in the U.S. announced this week that it will offer to aid the Trump administration in caring for migrant children detained along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Religion News Service reported that Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said on a press call that the organization would offer to help shelter and provide aid for migrant children, claiming that volunteers were already in the area working with officials.

“We have boots on the ground literally now working with our current administration in addressing some of the needs of these children coming over,” Rodriguez, a longtime Trump supporter, told the news site, adding that his group was actively sending “shipments and cargo and truckloads of resources to the border.”

Rodriguez also responded to questions on the call regarding whether Hispanic evangelical churches in the country would be active in providing shelter or foster homes for migrant children if the offer was accepted.

“That’s part of what we have in the rollout of the campaign,” he said, according to Religion News Service. “It’s part of it.”

The Kairos Company, which is reportedly partnering with Rodriguez on the effort, told the news outlet that the group’s offer to provide shelter was pending government approval, adding that the organization would work to provide supplies for existing shelters in the meantime.

“In the meantime the churches will provide the necessary basic necessities and we are opening up churches to accommodate just in case the detention centers cannot hold the children or their families,” said a company spokesperson.

“The church becomes a temporary housing facility for those seeking asylum or coming over the border undocumented and were captured in the process,” the spokesperson continued.

Lawmakers including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) have called on the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the border, to develop an adequate process for accepting donations of supplies for shelters and detention facilities.

The Trump administration has faced growing furor in recent weeks over its handling of detained undocumented immigrants.

An internal watchdog report released this week found that detained migrants are living in dismal conditions in federal detention facilities. Democrats have expressed outrage over the treatment of migrants following the report, after a contingent of lawmakers traveled to the border earlier this week to tour one of the holding centers in Clint, Texas.

Trump has dismissed the criticism, crediting Border Patrol with doing a “great job” and going “above and beyond” while blaming Democrats and existing immigration laws for ongoing issues at the border.

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