Border crisis ‘is an international disgrace and moral outrage’: Rev. Jesse Jackson

As grisly images of a father and toddler who drowned in the Rio Grande dominate the airwaves, Rainbow PUSH says it wants to help.

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Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. was kept in a Washington, D.C., hospital overnight for observation after falling and hitting his head at Howard University.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, joined by fellow clergy leaders and Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown, on Wednesday announced a plan for Rainbow PUSH to send humanitarian aid to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Carlos Ballesteros/Sun-Times file photo

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition announced Wednesday it will send aid to immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rev. Jesse Jackson said the Coalition is collecting “at least 5,000 diapers and undergarments, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap and other hygiene products” for Annunciation House, a nonprofit based in El Paso.

Annunciation House runs 25 “hospitality sites,” such as churches and hotels, for immigrants recently released from detention centers. The organization receives hundreds of immigrants a day, according to local reports.

“We can’t sit idly by and watch this man-made disaster destroy so many innocent, young lives,” Jackson said.

The crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border has intensified in recent weeks. In May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended nearly 133,000 immigrants at that border, the highest monthly total in 13 years. Of those, some 85,000 arrived as a family unit and some 11,000 were unaccompanied minors.

Under a 1997 consent decree, CBP is supposed to transfer children at its facilities to the Department of Health and Human Services in less than 72 hours. But thousands of children are being held much longer, in overcrowded border facilities.

Last week, multiple reports showed children in many facilities lack adequate food and hygiene, prompting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to refer to them as “concentration camps.” At least seven children have died while in CBP custody since last year, NBC has reported.

Grisly images of a father and toddler who drowned while crossing the Rio Grande have also heightened the plight of immigrants in recent days.

“What’s happening on the border is an international disgrace and moral outrage,” Jackson said. “Jesus was in the same situation. Mary and Joseph took him to Egypt as a refugee.Jesus was a border baby.”

Carlos Ballesteros is a corps member inReport for America,a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of Chicago’s South and West sides.

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