Faith on the Border
Through a fence in the early-summer heat and dust, Catholics from the Mexican side of the border with the USA pressed their faces forward through the gaps as Bishops moved along the line distributing communion. The mass, celebrated across two countries, was held to remember the people who have died crossing the border and to highlight an issue which has leapt to the top of the issues which dominate American politics as it prepares for elections to its senate and congress.
In July 112 people, protesting against the deportation of illegal child migrants, were arrested outside the White House. Many of those were some of the most powerful religious leaders in the USA, from different Christian denominations and faiths, united against President Obama's policy on returning child migrants back to their home countries of Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala. The real battle is not in Washington - it is in the towns and cities that line the border area because up until July over 60,000 child migrants have crossed the border into the US seeking refugee status. Matt Wells travels to the arid desert of Arizona, which has been forced to deal with the massive exodus of child migrants, to see how faith groups have thrown open their doors to the migrants offering food, clothing and comfort, and putting the lessons of their faith into practise on a huge scale.
In this BBC Heart & Soul Documentary, Matt Wells travels to desert towns on the US border to meet the pastors, priests and parishioners who are taking the messages of their faith and putting them into practice in highly charged and controversial areas. Matt meets the faithful as they offer shelter in their churches and synagogues. He also meets the anti-immigrant campaigners also driven by their faith, using scripture to argue that charity begins at home and that there is no place for the migrant children in the US.
This highly divisive issue rages on in America's capital but it has also been fought on the streets of its border towns with each side taking their faith to passionately argue their case.