Jennifer Garner, a longtime advocate for America’s neediest children, recently traveled with Save the Children to visit with some of the thousands of immigrants who have been sent for processing in Southwestern New Mexico.
“I get to see the beauty of kids in the worst of circumstances,” Garner, 47, says in an exclusive clip from an NBC News special about Save the Children’s work, airing Tuesday night and Wednesday.
“They’ve gone without baths, without food, without medical care. They’re here, happy to hear me butcher Goodnight Moon because they’re children,” Garner says.
A global charity where Garner is a trustee, Save the Children has long supported education and disaster relief programs for kids in the U.S.
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But amid an influx of migrant families seeking asylum in the U.S. from violence and instability in their home countries, Save the Children has launched its first humanitarian mission in America, according to NBC.
“They are a group that has been out here probably a little over two weeks now. They set up the kids’ safe zone/play zone. They have a lot of volunteers that come in and do arts and crafts with the kids and stuff like that,” Chris Brice, the county official overseeing operations, said of their work, according to the Deming Headlight.
“[Garner is] committed to go back and lobby her board for funding to sustain this for as long as it takes,” Brice said.
She was joined on her trip last week by the network’s senior legal and investigative reporter, Cynthia McFadden.
“To see what the people of Deming, New Mexico, have done to open their arms to families seeking asylum was truly inspiring as was witnessing the grace and expertise that Save the Children is bringing to these shelters,” McFadden said in a statement.
“It takes time, patience and resources to dig in to them and put a human face on what too often is just people yelling past each other. As the crisis at the border gets worse, our understanding needs to grow as well,” she said.
Garner, McFadden said, “brought a delightful openness, joy and compassion into this very difficult situation”
“It was truly lovely to watch Jennifer and the other Save the Children folks interact with the children. … The kids couldn’t get enough!” she said.
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The migrants, including families and children who have reportedly fled Central America seeking asylum, have been staying in Deming since May. That’s when federal border patrol authorities began sending them there temporarily until they could be relocated to their target destination, according to the Headlight.
Since then, some 7,000 migrants have come to Deming, with hundreds processed in and out a day, the Headlight reports. They have been staying at a local fairground and in former Army hangars.
NBC News’ report on the migrants arriving in the U.S. and Save the Children’s support efforts will air over two days: on Tuesday (6:30 p.m. ET) on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and on Wednesday (starting at 7 a.m. ET) on Today.