California immigrant families brace for possibility of sudden deportation

Deportation fears

LOS ANGELES -- At 6:45 in the morning, Father John Moretta is already at work.

The Resurrection Church in East Los Angeles has served as a sanctuary, giving legal and spiritual shelter to the Latino immigrant community for more than 90 years.

Federal agents conduct immigration raids

Now, the church has an urgent mission: advising families on how to prepare for sudden deportation.

The Trump administration’s deportation policy, recent images of homes being raided and a Phoenix mother separated from her family are fueling anger and confusion.

“Oh, people are very, very, very concerned because he was going to make these made orders right away to clean up immigration and immediately to build the wall. Why should a president create such tension for innocent people?” Moretta said.

Father John Moretta, right, speaks to parishioners  CBS News

Just outside Los Angeles at Pomona College, which has a history of welcoming immigrants, undocumented students like 20-year-old Daniella Sada have been shielded from deportation by the Obama administration’s deferred action policy, or DACA, which the Trump White House has discussed changing.

“I can honestly say I’ve never felt so much fear in my life as now,” Sada said.

Daniella Sada  CBS News

She and her mother crossed the Mexican border when she was just 1 year old. Her biggest fear is that her mother will be deported, leaving her alone to care for her two younger sisters.

“I feel like it’s inevitable. Just saying when it happens, when ICE comes, when the raids happen and I have to go back to Mexico and I’m detained, this is what you are going to have to do,” Sada said.

Moretta and his congregation are facing those same hardships, relying on faith and prayer to pull them through the frustration.

“Still after all the rhetoric and all the debate we still do not have in congress a comprehensive immigration vote and that is the solution to a lot of these problems,” Moretta said.

  • Mireya Villarreal

    Mireya Villarreal is a CBS News correspondent.