SAN ANTONIO – Local faith-based organizations are working hard to educate themselves on how to best serve a possible influx of unaccompanied migrant minors in the city.
“The city and interfaith welcome coalition are doing all they can to learn the best practices of how to best serve on a case by case basis,” said Associate Pastor Gavin Rogers with the Travis Park United Methodist Church. “We are going to have to learn more from the federal government and learn more from the agencies on the border.”
With experience helping with caravans of migrants, Rogers said they are concerned about the current situation at the border because officials there have never dealt with unaccompanied minors of this magnitude.
“It is not as easy as setting up a temporary shelter or a migrant shelter,” Rogers said. “It is going to have to be done with a lot of care and great nonprofits willing to see these cases through to make sure they find the right family members or host homes to take them in.”
Rogers said he feels the government needs to step in with well-trained non-profit organizations to deal with unaccompanied minors specifically.
“We need to change the way we speak about immigration and that comes from me listening to the migrant community, people of color, Latinx,” Rogers said. “They can really take the lead on this because they understand it the best, they have experienced it themselves, they understand the cultural dynamics and that voice needs to be lifted up. That is one of the things I think we can change this time around. Allow people of color to lead this charge and I believe some great solutions can be found where we can speak less politically about this and more humanely.”
He said the church is prepared to act as a respite center for families traveling to and from San Antonio at the bus station.
Most of all, he said that the conversation surrounding immigration needs to change for any plan to work successfully.