Since President Donald Trump’s immigration policy gave law enforcement officials unprecedented power to aggressively target immigrants in the country illegally, the nation’s immigrant communities have been living in fear, from the threat of arrest, detention and deportation.
Department of Homeland Security documents “revealed the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize crimes by undocumented immigrants; strip such immigrants of privacy protections; enlist local police officers as enforcers; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations,” The New York Times’ Michael D. Shear and Ron Nixon reported late last month.
“The message is: The immigration law is back in business,” said a gleeful Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports restricted immigration. “That violating immigration law is no longer a secondary offense.”
One area where enhanced law enforcement appears to be having a profound effect is on church attendance. In a piece titled “Trump’s Policies Are Keeping Hispanics Away from Church,” Christianity Today’s Kate Shellnutt reported that “America’s Hispanic churches [are] feel[ing] the impact of President Donald Trump’s immigration initiatives in their pews each week.”
“These new guidelines create anxiety and concerns about the future of the members of our church and their families,” the Hispanic Baptist Pastors Alliance (HBPA), a coalition of Hispanic Southern Baptist pastors, recently stated.
“Pastorear en Tiempos de Trump es más difícil y duro de lo que imaginé. Orando, sirviendo, y trabajando por nuestras familias,” Felix Cabrera, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City and a leader of the HBPA, recently tweeted. (“Pastoring in the time of Trump is more difficult and harder than I could have imagined. Praying, serving, and working for our families.”)
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