Help for immigrants rolls on as Catholic Charities provide assistance

A 19-year-old mother from Guatemala holds her baby close as they come into the Sacred Heart Parish Hall in McAllen turned relief center for a bowl of soup and some fruit.

Across the room, the laughter of children playing is contagious as the youngest immigrants who crossed the border with their parents illegally bounce balls, make crafts, or play a guitar...already forgetting the dangerous trek they made from Central America.

"To date we have served more than 6,000 people between the two centers", Brenda Riojas said.

Riojas says Catholic Charities have run this and a Brownsville center since June and the moms with their children are still funneling in.

"We can have 50 on one day, we had 90 yesterday, 72 the day before so the numbers are always fluctuating. Last week the numbers were higher 144, and 172 in one day," Riojas told Action 4 News.

They get a shower, clean clothes, food before they continue on their way. Riojas says what's going on in here is not Democrat or Republican, it's humanitarian.

"We leave politics at the door and it's all about helping our brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone is a volunteer here, the solidarity you have seen in this humanitarian outreach has been so uplifting," Riojas explained.

Although the donations of clothing and supplies come from the communities, the city has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid to keep the center going with the expectation the government will pay them back. But what if they don't?

We reached out to the City of McAllen to find out what they plan to do if the bill isn't passed about tents they have set up here for immigrants to sleep in or cool off during the day. They did not respond.

"We do ask Congress to take into consideration the humanitarian approach to this situation because we have to take every measure possible to protect the vulnerable," Riojas said.

And if all else fails Riojas says, "I am confident we'll find a way."