Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the pastor of California’s New Season Christian Worship Center, has announced that his church will provide shelter for undocumented immigrants fearing deportation, as well as, people in the community fleeing violence or simply in need of help.
But, as he noted in an interview with The Christian Post, his church’s program expands beyond that of churches that are serving as sanctuary locations for individuals that may be deported. Traditionally, law enforcement will not enter into places of worship to enforce deportation orders.
The safe haven is for everyone in the community—those who are victims of domestic violence, those that are fleeing gang activities, any family that believes their family is threatened. It could be internally or externally.
I want to distinguish that from sanctuary churches that are explicitly committed to opening up their doors to people that are undocumented. We are not going to ask you if you are documented or undocumented. If you are coming to our church and say, “I need safe haven,” without asking you any questions, we are going to provide safe haven.[/lborder]
Though Rodriguez said he supports some of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement measures—and even prayed at his inauguration—he expressed concerned about how some of the laws are being enforced. He told CP,
In the past few weeks, yes, the majority of people that were deported are hardened criminals and we are grateful for that. But there was a percentage, a number of great God-fearing, hard-working people who were not criminals who don’t even have a traffic violation that were deported. These are egregious stories … That is why I oppose it. I really want our president to fulfill his entire promise.
His church has set up more than two dozen cots to serve as a shelter for those in need.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.