Local Oxnard Commissioner Sees Possibility of Partnership with Homeland Security

Partnership with Homeland Security, NACLC, & visit to Immigration Detention Centers in Texas

By Adam Lopez

This past Thursday, November 14, 2019, I had the distinct honor and privilege of joining an elite group of 20 pastors and leaders of the largest Christian based organizations in the Nation. I joined this group in representation of the Apostolic Assembly (Revive Community Church), and in partnership with the National Apostolic Christian Leadership Conference. 

The group represented leaders from The Church of God, United Pentecostal Church, Apostolic Assembly, and Presbyterian Church, among others. This group was selected and asked to travel to Texas and visit two detention and processing centers for immigrants, one in McAllen, TX and the other in Harlingen, TX. Both of these belonging to the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

Upon arrival to our first location in McAllen, we were welcomed by a group of Border Patrol agents, administrative staff, and Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Austin L. Skero. Chief Skero then proceeded with a congressional briefing on the occurrences, challenges, process, development, and current status with immigration and the system. Chief Skero discussed in detail the trending decline of detainees this year in comparison to prior years when the situation was truly out of control. Chief Skero then went on to discuss and explain the damage that was caused by bad press and false media outlets, which was infiltrating each household in America. Truly making Border Patrol agents come out looking like savage monsters only displaying cruelty, bad treatment, abuse, and uncompassionate behavior. All evidence to the contrary may I add. 

Our second stop was to tour the processing center and holding areas in which we were granted access. The group was allowed to walk inside and witness the conditions as well as agent treatment. We were able to observe agent interaction and demeanor, we were able to witness cordial and respectful treatment, we saw first hand the acceptable and reasonable conditions offered to each individual. And although we were not allowed to take photographs (for privacy of the individual), we were allowed to speak with them. I can assure you that I asked quite a few individuals of all ages and gender, if they were being treated right and fairly, and all responded with a smile followed by an audible “Si, muy bien”.  

Our third and final stop was at an Office of Refugee Resettlement also known as ORR facility in Harlingen, TX. This is an establishment funded by the government to take in unaccompanied minors ranging in age between 13 and 17. There are over 100 of these ORR establishments throughout the USA, and they all provide sleeping accommodations, educational resources, medical services, counseling and advisement, but more importantly three hot meals a day along with a safe environment. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought we were touring a dormitory at a college campus. 

Don’t believe or get persuaded by everything you hear and see on the news, is the message that these Border Patrol agents and Homeland Security requested that we brought home to our cities and churches. They asked me personally to tell all of you that they care, its their passion, and they show compassion day in and day out. And although they have a job to do and will uphold the law, they will do so but still treating illegal immigrants with dignity and respect. 

Needless to say, this was a life changing experience for me and although this email communication does not provide details of everything I saw, which was nothing but positive, I will be presenting a full report to the General Board of the Apostolic Assembly, as well as our City Council and City of Oxnard Manager’s office. If anyone is interested in receiving a copy of that report which I anticipate to complete by the end of next week, please reach out to me directly and I will make sure to make it available to you. 

“BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING”

Photo Credits: Adam Lopez

Adam S. Lopez is the Community Liaison Commissioner on the Community Relations Commission for the City of Oxnard 


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