One of Donald Trump's evangelical advisers who prayed at his inauguration has broken rank over Republican plans to deport so-called Dreamers – undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children.
Rev Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, accused Trump of being 'morally reprehensible' over his plans to abandon the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA programme, brought in under the Obama administration to defend 'dreamers' and allow them to work legally.
'For goodness sake, enough is enough,' he said in a strongly worded interview with NPR after the US government went into shutdown with both sides failing to reach a budget agreement. 'They can't be bargaining chips in a deal. I mean, these kids lost their status. And they're living in perpetual limbo. They were raised here. They weren't brought here because they voted, you know, I want to come to America. It's morally reprehensible to even have them in this current state.'
Rodriguez is not the only evangelical to speak out against Trump and for dreamers.
Several others gathered last week to support Democrat and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a bipartisan effort to fight for the preservation of the DACA programme.
Johnnie Moore, known as the 'evangelical gatekeeper' to the White House and unofficial spokesperson for Trump's evangelical advisory board, said that defending DACA was a top priority for the majority of Christian leaders, according to the Washington Post.
'Nearly every Christian leader, everyone is very concerned about making sure there is a permanent decision for dreamers, and those of us close to the administration believe that the president is speaking with sincerity when he says he wants a bill that protects dreamers. We don't have any questions about his point of view,' Moore said.