Legislative Update: The DACA Deadline passed, What is Next in the Ongoing Struggle to Choose Welcome?

Washington, D.C. – On March 5,  the final day that President Trump intended to honor the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, faith leaders again urged lawmakers to pass the Dream Act. 

Congressional action to expand detention, deportation, and border militarization instead of protecting Dreamers and their families will weaken all U.S. communities – and is in diametric opposition to the example of welcome seen in scripture. Faith leaders from prominent faith traditions reiterated shared commitment to Dreamers, and just immigration policy for all immigrants and U.S. communities.

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) said of yesterday’s events: 

“This church stands with you. We hold you up in this very difficult time. I am praying for you. The PC(USA) is praying for you. But we know this fight does not end with this decision. You are true examples of active citizens advocating for their rights. We advocate with you. We raise our voices with you. I applaud the outstanding organizing, mobilizing, and public demonstrating coordinated by your leaders and by your supporters in the Dreamers/DACA networks who tirelessly fight for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and now for the DREAM Act. The public movement of solidarity and support of the DACA program and DREAMers is evidence of combined efforts. Those efforts offer other options, and we will coordinate with your many supporters to seek out ways to find a more just, permanent solution to the immigration limbo to which we, as a country, have been complacent. You have our support. Let us wake again to the struggle. Let us not be fearful of hate-filled discourse but offer an alternative path. “So, let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NRSV). We are committed to the long-term fight this may entail. God has called us to love each other, and that love propels us to action. And act we will do.”

Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Director of the Office of Public Witness added, “Dreamers have fought tirelessly for their rights and lives to be respected and their voices to be heard. They have been caught in this limbo for far too long. This is not a question of politics, but rather the morality of the American people. We ask our nation’s leaders to act on the values that are foundational to our faith – to welcome the stranger and love our neighbors.”

DREAMers and allies, including representatives from Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities, gather on March 5th at the Capitol to call for congressional action. Their banner reads “They Tried to Bury Us, They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds”. Photo By Clare Forrister, YAV at the OPW

The struggle to stop deportations and demand just immigration policy is very personal to Presbyterians, as many of our members are themselves threatened by an immigration  system that separates families and communities.  Long-time member of First Presbyterian Church in Metuchen, NJ, Roby Sanger continues to be detained in an ICE detention center. Even though deportations of Indonesian Christians has halted in that region, Roby has been detained for over a month. You can read more about his story and the court case regarding Indonesian Christians online. We urge you to participate in a postcard writing campaign to several ICE officers asking for his release.
Join the postcard campaign for Roby Sanger’s release today!
Print at home (PDF)
Send to print shop postcard 1 (PDF)
Send to print shop postcard 2 (PDF)

Although yesterday marked the day when DACA was to be terminated, a pending court case means that will not happen. However, Congress still needs to ACT! Below are resource to aid you in contacting your Congressional delegation and planning local actions in solidarity with migrant leaders.

  • United We Dream has put together a toolkit for action. Use the information for social media blurbs AND for calling your members of Congress!
  • Southern Border Community Coalition (SBCC) has put together a toolkit for talking points around DACA, the DREAM Act, and border security funding. The talking points will assist with calls to members of Congress urging for a permanent and just solution for DACA recipients and DREAMers while asking for no increase in border security spending with language from communities along the US/Mexico border.
  • On March 26th, the Interfaith Immigration Coalition held a webinar focusing on DACA/DREAMers, family unification debunking “chain migration”, and refugee/immigration bills – for and against – in different states. A recording is now available. The information was extremely helpful, especially that about state bills so that folks can focus on what’s happening in their communities to be sure harmful policies are not passed and implemented.

Many thanks to the PC(USA) Office of Immigration Issues for the text of this update 


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