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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Youth leader detained by ICE over DACA expiration

    Bethel Redding youth leader detained by ICE over DACA expiration

    Alayna Shulman, Redding Record Searchlight Published 2:00 p.m. PT July 16, 2018 | Updated 4:13 p.m. PT July 16, 2018

    Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Isac Dos Santos is a "youth leader," which is different from a youth pastor in that it's an unpaid position. An earlier version of the story incorrectly called him a pastor.

    A popular Bethel Church youth volunteer was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents earlier this month because his enrollment in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program expired, church officials said.

    The incident comes after the church's senior pastor, Bill Johnson, announced his support for President Donald Trump, whose controversial crackdown on immigration has led to public outcry. It's also notable because the church and its associated school are known for attracting attendees from around the world.

    The detained man, Isac Dos Santos, was taken into custody July 7 in New Mexico while helping a friend move, per a GoFundMe page that's raised over $7,000 to pay for Dos Santos's bond money and legal fees.

    More: Local citizens to protest Bethel Church's stand on LGBTQ conversion therapy

    Aaron Tesauro, a spokesman for Bethel, confirmed to the Record Searchlight that the details of the GoFundMe page are accurate, saying Dos Santos's paperwork through DACA — which let children brought into the country without documentation avoid deportation for a while — had expired.

    Specifically, Tesauro said Dos Santos had forgotten "to update his own DACA paperwork with the government," which affected his legal status to be in the country. It wasn't immediately clear where Dos Santos was born.

    "He is an integral part of their team, and a regular attendee of Bethel Church, and a (Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry) alumni," Tesauro said in an email, again clarifying that Dos Santos is a volunteer.

    More: Redding's Bethel Church clarifies stance on LGBTQ+ proposed legislation

    Tesauro also confirmed Monday morning that Dos Santos was still in custody, but his friends with the church were working on getting him released.

    While Tesauro said church officials are praying for Dos Santos, it isn't clear what'll be in store for him. Tesauro said the church was expecting his paperwork to be renewed.

    Originally there was an October 2017 deadline for DACA recipients to have their status renewed, but a court order earlier this year opened up the possibility for others to apply to stay in the country longer as well.

    Still, there's some legal confusion over what requirements the government has for the new batch of people potentially eligible for renewal.

    Dos Santos got an outpouring of support on social media about his detainment, with fellow Bethel attendees saying he's their "favorite youth pastor ever" and that "God loves the immigrant." Tesauro again clarified that Dos Santos is not indeed a pastor.

    But according to media reports, Johnson said in a now-deleted November 2016 Facebook post that he "found that compassion for aliens (visitors to a nation) is vital, but here again the responsibility to provide safety for its citizens comes first," while explaining why he supported Trump.

    More: What motivates Bethel to help Redding?

    Trump's characterization of undocumented immigrants as a danger to native-born American citizens is a large part of the controversy he faces over the issue.

    Tesauro said people are not asked what their immigration status is in order to volunteer with the church, and Dos Santos was a volunteer.

    "He’s a valuable team member and the youth love him," Tesauro said. "We’re all hopeful the paperwork will get corrected so he can return."


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