Fort Worth Pastor Says Deporting Undocumented Immigrants “Would Just Cripple Our Economy”

As the pastor at Waves of Faith, a multi-ethnic church in Fort Worth, Texas, Bobby Minor is expected to have compassion for every member of his congregation, even if they lack proper documentation to live here. Of the 500 people who worship at Waves of Faith, nearly 90 percent are Hispanic, and many of them are undocumented. “The consistent theme among the people I know is that there’s no clear path to citizenship,” he says. “And they deserve the opportunity.”

Minor has lived in Fort Worth his entire life, and has always appreciated its diversity. “When I was growing up, my grandmother owned an apartment complex and—I didn’t realize it at the time—she tended to rent to undocumented immigrants,” he says. “They always paid their rent on time, they were good tenants. Just some of the nicest, hardest working people ever.” Now, more than four decades later, Minor still sees this community as a benefit to Fort Worth. “If you remove undocumented immigrants from Fort Worth, it would just cripple our economy,” he says. Between “the dollars they spend, the groceries they buy, the places they eat, but also the services they provide,” Minor says these immigrants are a vital economic and civic piece of the city. Minor also coaches a youth baseball team, and some of the parents are undocumented. “They’re business owners and they’re great contributors to our economy,” he says. He adds that “a lot of people think undocumented immigrants take jobs from hardworking Americans, but they’re doing low-paying jobs that no American I’ve ever met would do.”

They’re business owners and they’re great contributors to our economy. A lot of people think undocumented immigrants take jobs from hardworking Americans, but they’re doing low-paying jobs that no American I’ve ever met would do.

Minor would like to see immigration reform that provides a path to documentation—and ultimately, citizenship—for immigrants who work hard in the United States and have no criminal record, and would be comfortable with a temporary probationary period. “I find it hard to blame people for fighting their way across the border in an attempt to help their family survive and thrive,” he says. “Have they technically broken the law? Yes. But if you look at their overall contributions to society, you have to give them a path.”

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New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…