Believers and converts from El Salvador who attend Spanish-speaking evangelical churches in the U.S. are concerned over the Trump administration’s revocation of temporary protected status for 200,000 Salvadorans, Christianity Today reported.
“There have been so many changes in immigration law… we just encourage people to trust God first of all. He’s going to make a way, because he’s always done that,” said Jose Arce Jr., senior pastor of Casa Del Alfarero in Silver Springs, Maryland, an Assemblies of God congregation that is 90 percent Salvadoran.
Arce has attempted to provide practical support for his congregation, including advising parents to get passports for their American-born children. He has also teamed with local law firms for legal guidance, according to Christianity Today.
“God, he moves our steps. Many of them came to Christ here. God will make a way for them,” Arce added.
Immigrants from El Salvador are the largest group to have the protected status, with 200,000 recipients, the newspaper said.
Those Salvadorans gained the status after earthquakes struck El Salvador in 2001. Now recipients of the status have until next September to leave the U.S. or face deportation.
“If actions like this continue, they will have a spiritual impact on the country,” said Tony Suarez, executive pastor at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
After the status is withdrawn, it doesn’t mean all those in the program will be deported, but it is likely to mean they will lose their jobs when their work authorization expires, said Matthew Soerens, director of church mobilazation at World Relief, according to Christianity Today.
If those nationals leave the U.S., they face the turmoil of leaving behind their homes and jobs, as well as concerns about their safety in El Salvador, where gang violence has led to one of the highest murder rates in the world, the newspaper reported.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other groups have written to the Trump administration in opposition to the change.
“It is a vital moment of decision for our elected lawmakers — the need to act is vital and it’s woven with the idea of what type of nation we want to be,” said Ashley Feasley, a migration policy director with the conference, according to Crux.
Read more at Latino Churches Fear Deportation After DHS Decisions.