- (Photo: Reuters)
Hispanic pastor and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Samuel Rodriguez, has applauded U.S. President Barack Obama for his decision to stop the deportation of thousands of young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children.
"I applaud the President for his decision to protect the innocent who currently pay the price for a broken immigration system", said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez in a statement released Friday afternoon.
The policy change was announced Friday by the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and will affect as many as 800,000 illegal immigrants who have lived in the country fearing deportation. Under the new plans they will become immune from deportation if they; came to the U.S. before they turned 16 and are younger than 30; have been in the country for at least five continuous years; have no criminal history; graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED; or served in the military.
The young illegal immigrants would also be allowed to work in the country as long as they do not pose a risk to national security or the public.
According to Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the announcement by the Obama Administration is "morally just, welcomed, practical, fair and worthy of celebration."
"As we prepare to celebrate Father's day this weekend, this announcement presents the antidote to the unfortunate separation of families," expressed the Hispanic leader.
The announcement comes in an election year in which the Hispanic electorate could prove to be key in a number of swing states. Also the plans have been unveiled just a week before President Obama plans to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' annual conference in Orlando, Fla.
Republican leaders, including GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have advocated tightening border security measures, and have pushed to deport anyone living in the U.S. illegally.
Previously Rev. Samuel Rodriguez has described anti-immigrant laws as "anti-Latino laws."
"Where there is persecution the Church grows. God is right and He will be glorified," he said in earlier interview with The Christian Post, remembering that a large portion of Hispanics in the U.S. are Christian.
Rodriguez has looked at the immigration issue as one tied very closely to the spiritual situation in the country, and he has warned political leaders talking tough on immigration: "We are deporting the future of Christianity in this country."
However, now with the policy change he believes that "justice" has come.
"Justice at times marches, at times protests and at times sings. Justice will always speak on behalf of those that cannot speak for themselves. Today, Justice spoke loud and clear, the dreams of all children stand worthy of protection," Rodriguez exclaimed.