Tour participants view the fellowship hall of the relief center inside Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, Texas, where new immigrants can get meals and donated clothing. 

 

 

(Photo: Courtesy of Susan Shepherd)
Denver City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd recently visited the border town of McAllen, Texas, to learn about efforts to help the influx of undocumented immigrant children from central America.

The tour, sponsored by an evangelical Christian coalition that advocates for immigration reform, took Shepherd to a Catholic relief center that helps undocumented families who have crossed into the U.S.  

Shepherd says the families are processed through border patrol, then look to find a place to stay while they wait for a court date to ask for asylum.

"They have very little clothing, they are dehydrated," she says, "They come there, they get a little bit of respite, and they are able to have a meal."  She says tents in the church's parking lot also house the migrants. 

Denver recently submitted an application for a federal grant to set up temporary housing for dozens of the children while they wait for some resolution of their cases. 

"I just hope our community has same amount of ability to feel compassion for these children that are escaping horrific violent conditions in their home country," Shepherd says.

Shepherd says while the government would run the center assisting those children, she expects local nonprofit and faith groups would also want to help.