This is Rosa Gutierrez Lopez. She came to America 13 years ago from El Salvador, where men with machetes threatened to kill her. For the last 5 months she’s lived in Cedar Lane Church in Bethesda where she sought sanctuary to avoid being deported by ICE.
Rosa's story is a familiar one for undocumented immigrants. She sought asylum after crossing the border, was ordered to court, mistakenly missed that court date, and because of that she's been criminalized by our immigration system. And it’s gotten worse since Trump was elected.
Rosa has 3 kids—all US citizens under the age of 11. Her youngest has Down syndrome. Today, this country—the same one she once saw as her only hope—is threatening to deport her and separate her from her kids.
She's a mother, wife, taxpayer, worker and faithful Christian. She tried to do everything right but the Trump admin is criminalizing her bc of 1 unintentional mistake of missing a meeting. She wants to plead her case in court + get a stay of deportation. She deserves to be heard.
Rosa requested I come see her, so last week I visited her to hear her story and pray w/ her. I promised her for the rest of my life I'm going to tell her story whenever I talk about immigration. I pray one day we can stand together on stage and she can share her story herself.
What's happening to Rosa and so many others is an expression of "empire evil." It's people and leaders thinking they have the authority to stand against the moral arc of the universe. For a country of immigrants to break the backs of immigrants is evil.
Imagine Rosa was your mother. Your daughter, your sister, your wife. I want you to imagine that until it hurts your heart. Until it disturbs your mind. Until it makes you weep and you find the courageous love to fight for Rosa and end these cagings, separations, and deportations.
And those people who claim to be Christians: Why are you so quiet now? For those people who are so loud about oppressing gay folks and having prayer in the schools and abortion and family values: Where are you now? It's our duty to pray for the stranger, the hungry, and the poor.
I tremble for this nation until Rosa is left alone. Until she gets the day in court that she deserves. We must do everything we can so our children's children hear what we did and feel honored. So they can hear Rosa's name as an emblem for freedom and justice.
Thank God for Rosa.
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