TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -East Texas religious leaders are back from the southern border after getting a detailed look of the challenge’s immigrants face.
Reverend Steve Miller, Associate Pastor, Mount Hebron Baptist Church, tells KLTV, ”It's up to pastors to teach this to Americans again, to let them know that who we are as Christian, who care about people who love people, who are compassionate.”
Witnessing firsthand the conditions at the border has motivated many pastors like Miller to act.
“We got to see lots of children and their mothers massed at the border. It's kin to someone trying to escape, someone trying to murder them, and them coming to your front door and knocking and asking to be let in and you deciding not to let them in,” explains Miller.
Following a two-day visit to the border, a group of more than hundred faith leaders across the state called "Pastors in Action" spoke with several immigrants while at the border.
“What we went down to learn we learned it and what we learned was not good,” adds Miller.
Reverend Gordon N. Blackman Jr. from Alpine Presbyterian Church in Longview says the border visit reinforced his view that the immigration system is broken.
“Nobody who looked dangerous, they just looked to be miserable, understandably so,” explains Blackman.
Gordon witnessed uncomfortable conditions for asylum seekers who fled violence in their home country. That's why faith leaders met with policy analysts to educate themselves on how to lobby additional funds for better facilities.
“What's sad is we've made it so hard that we've given the criminals more opportunity to prey on these weak and vulnerable people.
These faith leaders believe the conditions at the border contradict basic morals.
“It's easy to say those people need to stay away but when see them directly holding little children, crying, talking about the horrible conditions they come from and the miserable conditions they live in. It's kind of hard to hate,” says Blackman.
Later this month, the group of faith leaders will be heading to Washington DC to lobby congressman and U.S. senators to appropriate more money to build more ICE detention facilities, and to change laws to allow immigrants to legally seek asylum.