Local religious leaders set to volunteer at local shelters near U.S.-Mexico border
BLUE ASH, Ohio (WKRC) – Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp is preparing for a journey unlike one she’s ever made. On Tuesday, Terlinchamp will join more than a 100 other Jewish people and faith leaders in a pilgrimage to Tornillo, Texas to see what’s happening at the Mexico border. Close to 2,000 teenagers remain in the detention center as they await a decision on their future.
For those going to Texas, the welfare of children is more important than immigration status.
“If we are truly people of faith then we need to match what’s happening down at the border with love and faith," Terlinchamp said. "If there’s militia and army down there then there better be as many helping loving hands too.”
The multi-faith action consists of people from 41 cities. Stops will be made at the border bridge between Mexico and the U.S. to watch migrants approach the U.S. and they’ll also protest at the detention center and work with local shelters to help in various ways.
"I hope that seeing this through my eyes and not the lenses of media will change me,” Terlinchamp said.
On Saturday, Terlinchamp had help from others working to help immigrants as she packed up supplies. One of them, Pastor Alan Dickens, is the lead the pastor at the Carthage Christian Church and will also make the trip to Texas.
"When I see siblings, who are in pain and who are hurting because of injustice and in this case injustice at the border then I need to respond to that,” Dickens said.
As the migrant caravan gets closer to the U.S., Dr. James Camp is watching the progress. He's also getting daily updates on how many people are being released from the detention centers in Texas.
"We're often the first welcoming presence they see,” Dr. Camp said. "The migration we are seeing now is something that is motivated by a need to survive. When individuals can't feel safe in their own place. When they can't make a living, when the children might be in danger, they move, we would move too.”
For decades, Camp has helped people get to new, safer homes in this country. Now he’s sharing his knowledge with friends who will soon see first hand what’s happening at the border.
"As a nation, we can and should be better than this and as people of faith we need to provide a public witness to what is happening there,” Terlinchamp said.
The trip is as much about advocacy for immigrants as it is about education. When everyone returns home to their cities they’ll share the experience and start working to find better solutions to help those who are seeking it in America.