Lafayette Pastor Weighs in on Immigration, Letlow on Recent Trip to Border

The crisis at the border is a nationwide problem as illegal immigrants make their way throughout the country including Louisiana.  ABC 31 News Joel Massey spoke with a pastor who is ministering to the Hispanic population here and is calling for reforms.

Lafayette pastor Carlos Schmidt said, “I came to Louisiana about 12 years ago after being a church planter in Arkansas and New York.”

Schmidt was born in Bogota, Columbia and he came to the country 20 years ago.  He says the Hispanic population in Louisiana has grown tremendously.  His flock includes many some of whom are in the country illegally.

“The population is somewhat divided in different groups from different countries but also their status in the United States is different.  Some people are here with documents and some people are here without documents.”

“We seek to present the gospel to all people regardless of their immigration status and minister to them because they are made in the image of God and we want them to know Christ.”

Schmidt says that there is a fear of being deported among those here illegally.

“There is an apprehension but most of them are too busy working too busy living the American dream to a certain degree.  So there is some fear there is some sense that they want to sink in roots but they are also kind of loose because they don’t know what the future might hold for them.”

“The laws change. The force by which these laws are enforced changes depending on the government and their intention to quickly remove a lot of people or not which creates a lot of uncertainty in the lives of people.”

Schmidt calls for change in the policies, some form of amnesty, but he says there needs to be a balance.

“We do have a problem and I think the best way to fix the problem would be to have an immigration reform which is something that has been needed for many years, but the government has never been able to come to an agreement.”

U.S. Congresswoman Julia Letlow recently took a trip to the border.

“And I left just incredibly heartbroken but also angry for this administration to turn a blind eye to what our border patrol is facing, what our border towns is facing is terrible and so I went I saw it firsthand it makes me want to go up to Washington and fight even harder to make sure that to make sure that our border patrol has the resources to defend our border. It’s a matter of national security.  It’s also a humanitarian crisis.”

Carlos says a strong border policy is important, but he also wants a better way of processing people who want to come here legally.

“I think there is a crisis at the border.  I think that secure borders would be a good thing but also there would need to be an efficient immigration system to allow those people who want to come to work and establish themselves in this country in an efficient way because the system is so backlogged that even to try to file an application for a relative, takes years to be approved.”

More than 12 thousand detainees were processed in the ICE Alexandria Staging Facility.  Nearly 100 percent of those detainees were deported compared with 55 percent nationally.

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