In North Carolina, the arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents last week of a man who had been living in a church for nearly a year prompted statewide rallies in his support—and showed once again how the Trump administration’s immigration policy is driving a wedge between Christian communities.
Samuel Oliver-Bruno, a 47-year-old man originally from Mexico, lived in the basement of the CityWell United Methodist Church for 11 months until Friday, when he left the premises for a scheduled meeting with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officials. Minutes after Oliver-Bruno entered the building, witnesses tell Pacific Standard that plainclothes ICE officers arrested him and moved him into a van behind the building. About 50 congregation members had escorted Oliver-Bruno to the meeting, understanding the risks he faced leaving the sanctuary; his hope was that he would successfully apply to remain in North Carolina with his wife and son.
Congregants surrounded the van, praying and singing songs including “Amazing Grace” and, in Spanish, “Ven, Espíritu, Ven” (translation: “Come Holy Spirit Come”), Oliver-Bruno’s favorite, while some entreated the ICE officers to have mercy on Oliver-Bruno. Finally, after about two hours, police arrested more than a dozen of the protesters blocking the vehicle….