Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles has called for mercy and an end to deportations as he led religious leaders in an interfaith prayer service for peace and unity following the US election.

He said that, with the election result, children “are afraid” and “men and women are worried and anxious, thinking about where they can run and hide. This is happening tonight, in America.

“The answer is not angry words or violence in the streets. It never solves anything. It only inflames it more. We need to be people of peace, people of compassion. Love not hate. Mercy not revenge,” he said.

“These are the tools to rebuild our nation and renew the American dream. Tonight we promise our brothers and sisters who are undocumented – we will never leave you alone.”

The archbishop and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti had organised the prayer service as a sign of solidarity amid uncertainty after the elections.

During his campaign, president-elect Donald Trump vowed to undo what he called President Barack Obama’s “overreaching” executive orders that gave some undocumented migrants rights.

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