Latino Christians came together on Saturday in McAllen, Texas, where they prayed for the thousands of undocumented children and families that have arrived to the United States from Central America in recent months.
The collective prayer marked the beginning of "For His Children," a charity initiative that seeks to provide undocumented migrants with both physical and spiritual support. The event, according to ABP news, was organized by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and three other charitable organizations.
More than 50 Hispanic pastors prayed at the facility where the undocumented children are processed upon arrival, at the Border Patrol station, and at Sacred Heart — a Catholic church where volunteers have set up a temporary shelter where families can rest before setting out to meet relatives across the United States.
Saturday's day of prayer was just one of many recent demonstrations in which activists and faith leaders have shown their support for undocumented immigrants.
Yet Congress was unable to provide a viable solution to the crisis.
Saturday's collective prayer came just hours after House Republicans passed two immigration bills calling for the expedited deportation of undocumented children and for the end of a program that allows young undocumented immigrants to legally remain in the U.S.
The bills, which were championed by conservative representatives, including Minnesota's Michelle Bachmann, are farther to the right than what establishment Republicans such as House Speaker John Boehner had previously proposed.
The proposed legislation would allot $695 million in extra funding for agencies dealing with the recent surge of unaccompanied minors, a significantly smaller sum than the nearly $4 billion originally requested by the Obama administration, the Washington Post reports.
The bills would also allow the government to deport unaccompanied children much faster than it does now. They would also limit the administration's discretion to defer deportation for young undocumented immigrants, or "DREAMers." Many Republicans have said that the deferment program — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — has lured thousands of unaccompanied children to the U.S., even though none of the recently arrived children could qualify for deferment under the current terms of the program.
The bills, which were passed right before Congress went on its five-day August recess, will almost certainly not become law, as Democrats and President Obama have expressed their opposition to the Republican measures.
Nicolás Medina Mora is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Nicolás Medina Mora at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.