A group of Donald Trump-supporting prayer warriors who call themselves POTUS Shield met in Ohio this month to kick off a spiritual and political strategy for bringing revival to America and America back to God. Immigration was a rare issue on which they disagreed with the rest of Trump’s right-wing coalition.
POTUS Shield leaders want Trump to adopt a more “compassionate” stance on immigration than his campaign rhetoric called for, because they believe immigrants have a major role to play in returning America to God. Mark Gonzales said that’s why Satan is fighting against a compassionate, comprehensive approach to immigration.
Gonzales’ comments echoed something that Hispanic evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez has been telling white conservative Christians for years: that they need Jesus-loving immigrants to help bring a spiritual awakening to America. That argument hasn’t always been an easy sell.
Gonzales said Christians shouldn’t get “caught up” in the immigration rhetoric of conservative pundits like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh. God, he said, has a better solution, one that will help bring about an awakening.
Trump campaign adviser Frank Amedia, whose church hosted the POTUS Shield event, said that Trump asked him last year to work on an immigration plan, and that he devised one in consultation with Asian American and Hispanic Christians. He said his plan, which “came from God,” is compassionate toward law-abiding immigrants, and even pays for Trump’s wall on the Mexican border, with money left over to invest in minority communities in inner cities.
Amedia told the POTUS Shield participants that he was personally “crushed” when the plan was shelved by people around Trump during the campaign. But, he said, he had just learned that the plan is now back on the table and is circulating at the “highest levels” of the White House and Congress. Amedia said Trump’s first executive order on immigration—the one that set off chaos in airports—was a “bear trap” that was implemented without “good wisdom,” but could serve as a wake-up call for people in power to take a different approach.
Amedia decreed and declared that his plan would have legs, and Gonzales led prayers for the group’s immigration plan to move forward with God’s help. Also speaking on the immigration theme was Herman Martir, a member of the Trump campaign’s Asian American and Pacific Islander advisory group.
Trump has said his immigration plan, while “firm,” will have “a lot of heart.” But it remains unclear what he will do regarding DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the Obama executive order that allowed DREAMers—people whose parents brought them into the country when they were children—to remain in the country, go to school, and work. Trump has yet to sign an executive order that has been reportedly been drafted to overturn DACA. Gonzales, who says deporting DREAMers is not biblical, attributes the delay to intercessory prayer holding off what he says would be a disaster.
News reports suggest that the Trump administration is allowing people to be detained and possibly deported without formally reversing the policy and taking heat for it. Indeed, immigration agents have arrested some people who are in the DACA program along with other immigrants who don’t fit Trump’s stated “bad hombres” criteria. The lack of clarity has left students and colleges up in the air about what the future will hold. Some young people fear that the information they provided to the government when applying for DACA could be used to deport them.
This month more than 560 college and university professors signed a letter urging Trump to preserve DACA. Meanwhile, some immigration hard-liners are getting impatient for Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to “immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties.”