Immigration law changes overnight, forcing religious workers out

by ian

One immigrant pastor is now facing deportation after building a life in the States for 13 years.

Albert Oliveira came to the US from Brazil on a student visa in 2010. He started a family and is now pastoring a church in Texas.

Then, the US government unexpectedly changed the rules for his visa reapplication forcing him and his wife to acquire a green card. But the worker visas they hold will expire before they can even apply.

American Immigration Lawyers Association Director Sharvari Dalal-Dheini says the changes create an 11-year backlog for religious workers. That’s an “overnight” change she says is unlawful.

In the meantime, Oliveira told the Baptist Press, “basically, the whole religious worker category is now useless.”

He is hoping to change his visa status to quicken the application process. The church has hired an attorney to help the young pastor stay in the States.