Rev. Carmelo Santos, a chemist turned theologian, is used to solving problems. As senior pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, in Annandale, Virginia, Carmelo has spent a decade sowing seeds of compassion and inclusion into his church. An integral part of his ministry consists of advocating on behalf of our immigrant neighbors and educating the larger community about the blessings of immigration.

Carmelo has been on the frontline standing up for young immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects almost 800,000 dreamers from deportation while they pursue careers and start families. He even was arrested in Washington, DC, in an act of civil disobedience to protest unjust policies that tear apart immigrant families.

“Immigration isn’t a problem to be solved but a blessing to be claimed,” Carmelo said.

“A blessing to be claimed”

Last week, President Trump repealed the DACA program, putting dreamers’ futures at grave risk. But Carmelo remains hopeful.

“No act of kindness is lost, no matter how small,” he said. “Telling a story about an immigrant in a homily can have an impact. Even if we don’t see the results of our work, it still will bear fruit. The important thing to do is to plant those seeds.”


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