The Sacramento church of an evangelical pastor who led a prayer at Donald Trump’s inauguration is offering beds for congregants who need a safe haven from immigration raids or domestic violence.
New Season Christian Worship Center is led by Sam Rodriguez Jr., the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), a conservative network of evangelical Hispanic churches. Rodriquez prayed at President Trump’s inauguration ceremony in January. He has offered legal education about immigrant rights to his parishioners, and has asked them to contact NHCLC’s immigration attorney if they fear their family may be separated. He has also offered similar resources to the NHCLC leadership to distribute to their churches at their discretion.
“The anxiety in Christian conservative, evangelical churches has grown exponentially, because many of our worshipers, many of the families we serve, many of the families in our pews, may very well lack the appropriate documentation, even though we have a don’t ask don’t tell policy,” he says.
During the campaign, Rodriguez challenged Trump’s commitment to build a southern wall and to deport with force roughly 10 million undocumented immigrants. In a private meeting Trump held with evangelical leaders in June, Rodriguez says he asked Trump to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children, often called Dreamers, to find legal employment and avoid deportation. He also said he asked Trump to not separate families with deportation.
The Department of Homeland Security issued draft memos in mid-February that confirmed that DACA would remain in effect and broadened group of undocumented immigrants targeted for deportation. The memos also suggested that deportation of criminals could be interpreted to mean anyone who is in the U.S. illegally, not just offenders of serious crimes. Rodriguez has urged Trump to confine deportation of undocumented immigrants to violent criminals, such as murderers, drug dealers, and gang members. “I am grateful that the president met the critical element embedded in his promise not to touch the Dreamers,” Rodriguez says. “I need the president now to complete the promise and protect good god-fearing hardworking families from being separated."
"What has taken place in the past two weeks does not respect the president’s promise,” Rodriguez said.