As Donald Trump prepares to take over as president, fears of deportation and expulsion haunt immigrant communities and their parishes across the country
“THE REALITY OF immigration is a very real focus of our parish life,” says Fr José Luis Muro, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Chula Vista, California. “Many haven’t seen members of their family for years. People say, ‘My father is dying, but if I leave the US to visit him, I will not be able to get back in.’”
Such anxieties have worsened in the weeks since Donald Trump was elected. “People are more afraid,” says Fr Muro. “The things he has said. The deportations are scary. The people I know in the parish are good people. They have fled violence or extreme poverty. They have endured great suffering to get here.” Why do they come without the right documents? “They have no idea how difficult it is,” he replies.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of many national parishes in the Diocese of San Diego. There are parishes for Filipinos and Koreans, just as New York and Chicago once had parishes for Poles and Italians. “My parish is Hispanic,” Fr Muro explains. “Families would be torn apart” if Trump were to follow through on his promise to deport all those in the country who lack the proper documentation.