It’s safe to assume that in any other circumstance, dozens of congregants vanishing from a Christian church would probably merit some attention from the so-called “most evangelical cabinet in history,” of whom at least a dozen members attend a weekly Bible study, according to Christian outlet CBN News. But these missing congregants in New York’s Fort Edward are brown, and they’re vanishing because they live in such fear of Donald Trump’s deportation force, that they are too afraid to leave their homes and worship:
Until three undocumented immigrants were rounded up and processed by ICE agents in March, St. Joseph’s Church in Fort Edward on Sundays was a melting pot of faces.
Members of up to 12 Mexican immigrant families, about 50 people in total, could be seen in the pews and at the altar, where Mexican immigrant children served as altar boys and girls.
“No more,” the Rev. Tom Babiuch said solemnly in a recent interview. “They don’t come here anymore. They’re afraid to step out and have a normal life.”
“This country has been built on Christian values and Christian messages,” said Rev. Babiuch. “To do this to these people is totally unChristian.”
Houses of worship across the nation have especially been in tune to the crisis facing America’s immigrant families, responding to mass deportation fears by vowing to offer sanctuary to undocumented immigrants facing deportation:
Most recently, Jeanette Vizguerra, another undocumented mom with no criminal record, won a two-year stay of deportation after spending nearly 90 days in a Denver church. While she was in sanctuary, Vizguerra was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world for becoming a national face of the 21st-century sanctuary movement, one that stands to have an important role in keeping families together during Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant crackdown.