U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial immigration policies are now affecting Hispanic churches in America, as some congregants have been opting to stay home rather than face the risk of being arrested while en route to church.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security announced Trump's new immigration plan which could get more undocumented workers arrested, detained or deported. Weekly attendance in some Hispanic churches in America has gone down in the wake of the implementation of the immigration measures, with many fearing that they could be separated from their family any time, Christianity Today relays.
Felix Cabrera, who leads the Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City, is one of the pastors in the U.S. who are now complaining about the effects of Trump's immigration policies on the church. He said being a pastor at this time has become more difficult than ever.
Based on a Pew Research Center study, half of Latino Christians in the U.S. are living in fear that they or a loved one would be deported. The findings also reflect that green card holders have the highest (71 percent) level of worry over deportation.
"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," National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Samuel Rodriguez said in a press release.
When the new immigration policies were announced last month, Latino Victory Project president Cristobal Alex accused Trump of planning to "break up families" and take back their civil rights protection. In light of the situation, he vowed to come up with strategies to fight back against Trump's immigration measures, The New York Times reports.
In addition, Alex said Trump started his first day as president by targeting the Hispanic community with his new policies. Part of their plan to fight back is the establishment of sanctuary cities that will refuse to fully cooperate with authorities that might detain illegal immigrants.