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    Posted January 30, 2013 by
    Los Angeles, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Naturalized citizens: Your thoughts on immigration reform

    More from OdysseyNews

    Immigration's Impact on the Church Pews


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     This video from OdysseyNews features the story of two sisters from Guatemala who were brought to the U.S. as children. Now, 28 years later, they found out they are not legal citizens and received their deportation papers. 'I found it important to shed a light on one of the groups of individuals that are affected by, but rarely included in the conversation about immigration reform-the children of immigrants seeking asylum,' said Lea Sheloush, who produced the video for Odyssey Networks. The interviews took place at Echo Park United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, a congregation where every family has been touched by the 'broken immigration system,' according to Pastor David Farley. Odyssey Networks is a multi-faith news organization.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    As immigration reform heats up in Washington this week, many religious leaders know first hand how the issue has changed congregations. When David Farley became pastor of Echo Park United Methodist Church in 1982, the Los Angeles, Calif. congregation consisted mostly of older Caucasians. Now the church has a large immigrant contingent, with nearly 80 percent of the congregation being of Hispanic and Asian descent. “There is not one family in this church that is not directly affected by a broken immigration system,” said Farley, who has wrestled with his congregation's changing demographics. The Rodriguez sisters, who have been church members for two decades, rely on the support of their pastor and church community as they face pending deportations. “Every day in this ministry is heart breaking, in a way,” said Farley, who is also the chairperson of the Immigration Task Force for the California Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church, "but I have faith and hope."
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