Catholic Charities of the RGV reacts to executive order by Gov. Abbott

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MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – With the ongoing influx of migrants at the southern border, Gov. Greg Abbott is cracking down on how migrants can be moved.

ValleyCentral spoke one on one with Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley Director Sister Norma Pimentel to find out how this could impact the humanitarian respite center.

“We are defiantly concerned about the fact that we if we are stopped from doing what we believe what is our job to do as people of faith,” Pimentel said.

Executive Order GA-37 would allow DPS troopers to pull over and even impound vehicles that are suspects of transporting migrants at risk of spreading COVID-19. While this order has been temporarily blocked by a U.S district judge, Sister Norma hopes she and her volunteers can continue to help migrant families.

“What we do is to continue to provide services to that we need to do for the families, if a family needs care that is what we are here to do,” Pimentel said. “I think that it’s an effort done together with the city, to make sure we take care of families correctly and take them to where they need to be taken.”

Catholic Charities of the RGV do not transport migrants themselves. The organization has an agreement with Border Patrol to move migrants who test negative for COVID-19 to the humanitarian respite center. Border Patrol also transports migrants who test positive to the Anzalduas Park shelter, according to Pimentel.

But Sister Norma fears Executive Order GA-37 will impact how Catholic Charites of the RGV can help migrant families. And as the case play out in court, all Pimentel can do is wait and see what can happen.

“My plan has always been to be present and to just be prepared to help those that need us and to work with those that is trying to address what is happening at the border,” Pimentel said.

And as Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas visited the Rio Grande Valley earlier this month, Pimentel says she’s glad someone from the federal government came to see the border.

“I really appreciate his presence here with us and his visit to talk and to listen,” Pimentel said. “The most that I saw from him is really listening to us to our leaders in the community just to see how overwhelming it is.”

But even if the hold on Abbott’s Executive Order is lifted, Pimentel is prepared for whatever may happen.

“At that point, we will worry about it then,” Pimentel said. “But now our efforts are to continue to do what we have always done and that is to take care of a person.”

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