Various members of President Trump‘s evangelical advisory council came together on Thursday with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a rare public show of support for the preservation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“You have always taken the lead. Your commitment to the immigrant community to the ‘Dreamers’ is second to none. So America is in a better place because of your prophetic leadership on this matter,” the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who prayed at Trump’s inauguration, told Pelosi at a news conference Thursday.
Rodriguez praised bipartisan efforts from the president and members of Congress on DACA, but said it was time to put politics aside on the matter.
“We can’t continue to play politics with 800,000 human beings created in the image of God. It is morally reprehensible,” Rodriguez said.
“If we have to build a wall in order to secure and save 800,000 lives, let’s make that happen as expeditiously as possible. Let’s cross the proverbial [River] Jordan of saving our DACA young men and women. Let’s do it now,” he continued.
The show of unity between the evangelical leaders and Pelosi is notable due to Trump’s support among evangelicals.
Roughly 20 percent of Latinos in the U.S. identify as evangelical, according to The Washington Post, making DACA a key issue for members of the community.
Trump announced last year he would move to end the Obama-era program.
Congress is racing to reach a deal on spending and immigration in an effort to avoid a government shutdown on Friday night.
Trump and Republican lawmakers have said they would support protections for DACA recipients if they are tied to strict border security measures, including border wall funding.
Trump put a roadblock in the immigration talks last week when he reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations as “shithole countries.”