Hispanic Pastor Hopes for the Best, Amid President's Plans to End DACA

Sep 5, 2017

Pastor Adrian Garcia leads Latino Outreach Ministry at First United Methodist Church in Peoria.
Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

In response to President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a pastor in Peoria is urging his parishioners to keep the faith.  

Pastor Adrian Garcia leads the Latino Outreach Ministry at First United Methodist Church. His congregation includes the children of undocumented immigrants, who now risk losing protection under DACA. Garcia says his homily this Sunday is for those families.

“In our services this weekend, I think the word is ‘hope.’ In part, because we are a people of hope.”

Pastor Garcia says hope is what propels people to emigrate from their home countries, to endure hardships and to risk their lives for a better future.  

On Sunday, Garcia says he’ll recite an Old Testament Psalm about the Jews living in captivity in Babylonia.

“Those who were hosting them said sing some songs from your place. They say ‘how can we sing those songs when we are in slavery?’ [sobs] But in the end, they remained faithful to their faith. In hoping for a better future.”

Garcia is urging his parishioners to do the same.

“In this moment, I don’t think anyone is thinking to leave the country. I don’t think so. I think they’re just more like, ‘let’s do something about it. Let’s talk to congress people.’ That’s what I heard. They want to fight for an opportunity to stay.”

Pastor Garcia says he’s heartened by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s approval last week of the Illinois Trust Act. The law prohibits law enforcement from arresting someone solely based on immigration status.