I am dismayed to hear of the arrest and impending deportation of Noe Carias, a fellow pastor and father. Beyond that, Noe is a member of my own denomination, the Assemblies of God. By all accounts, Pastor Carias is a law-abiding and productive member of his local Los Angeles community. Beyond that, he is a model father of two children who are both U.S. citizens, and Wednesday will be his 14th wedding anniversary to his wife Victoria—also a U.S. citizen.
Time and again, President Trump has stated his priority would be to deport violent criminals, drug dealers, human traffickers and gang members. Pastor Carias is the very opposite of that description. We should deport pushers, not pastors. We have worked tirelessly with the White House and the Trump administration precisely in order to avoid this kind of result. To deport any immigrant whose life is so deeply connected to the United States and whose family is comprised of U.S. citizens is an assault on the sanctity of life and the sacredness of the family. We cannot and must not allow families to be ripped apart by an immigration system that is attempting to make up for any real or perceived inadequacies of our past enforcement policies.
Reconnecting Pastor Carias with his family and church community is now the priority of the NHCLC, and I will personally work with the Trump Administration and other appropriate authorities to rescind his deportation order with hopes no other family is forced to endure such unnecessary heartbreak. Please pray for our political leaders as well as our enforcement officers, that they would act justly and compassionately and that we would find a swift conclusion to this case.
Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez is the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.