Border Crisis: Telling a Better Story That Asks, ‘Who is My Neighbor?’

By Nancy Flory Published on August 2, 2023

“Before we see them as migrants or asylum seekers โ€” or some would say illegals โ€” I think we should be willing to see them first and foremost as brothers and sisters in Christ,” said pastor Eric Huffman, an executive producer for the documentary Across. Across is a film series on the crisis at the border and what churches can do about it. 

The Asylum Seekers

The four-part series Across was inspired by an episode of Huffman’s podcast called “Maybe God.” Huffman is also the lead pastor of The Story Church in Houston. The film follows the story of three families who crossed the border into the U.S. from South American countries. These families did not cross illegally, they followed the law as asylum seekers.

The journey to the U.S. was treacherous as cartels, coyotes and human traffickers are in control at the border. And the open border policies are not helping. “I think a controlled border with controlled entry points is the most compassionate approach because the chaos at the border now is just leaving lives in the hands of the worst possible people.”

Who is Our Neighbor?

The series shows churches helping house the women and their children, living out the story of the Good Samaritan. “I mean, it’s Jesus answering a question about ‘Who is my neighbor?’ with a story. … We’ve got people in our country, people that are our neighbors in front of us. For whatever reasons, they really need a helping hand. They need a neighbor, they need some compassion. And more than that for the church in America, it’s just important for us to know that somewhere around 90 or 95 percent of the folks in crossing the border are our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Putting a Face on the Immigration Issue

Telling the stories of the families was important, said Huffman. It allows people to put a face on the immigration issue. It humanizes those who have come to the U.S. “We told the stories of a handful of women, mothers really, who were desperately fleeing some pretty horrific situations back home. A lot of violence, gang violence, domestic violence, and lives hanging in the balance. And what it helped me to see, even as a conservative, is that any of us in that situation would do the same thing and that these mothers in this case are doing what any loving mother would do.”

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He continued: 

In my experience, they are some of the most salt of the earth, God-fearing, family oriented, desperate people who, again, are doing the same thing that any of us would do in the situation. That doesn’t mean we don’t need better laws. I think we do need more stringent code. But we need to have some compassion for the folks that are coming.

By the Grace of God

Huffman wants people to watch the series with a compassionate heart and to see hope in the dark days ahead. “And again, it may or may not change the way you vote, but I believe it has the power to change the way [we] pray, the way we love, the way we communicate the Gospel of Jesus.”

Huffman asked Christians to pray that the enemy’s strongholds around this issue would come down, that the nation’s leaders would put humanitarian policies in place so that the evil at the border does not continue. “It was by the grace of God that we were born in this great land. … We may just as easily be one day strangers and sojourners ourselves. [Scripture] is clear to be kind and compassionate and to humanize those God puts in front of us and be neighbors who love with the heart of God.”

Watch the trailer:

For more information or to watch the series, go to acrossdocumentary.com.

 

Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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