Defending our calling to welcome the stranger here in the United States is not always easy. Several months ago, the Administration announced plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. For years, the program has shielded many young immigrants, who came to this nation at the average age of six, from the unshakeable worry of deportation and separation from their families, friends, and the only country they have ever known.
In Michigan, there are approximately 5,400 Dreamers who have had to wait 16 years for a legislative solution that will grant them citizenship in the country they call home. These children, who are every bit as American as you and I, deserve the necessary legal protections to continue their lives as valuable members of our communities. Indeed, for many of them, this country is the only home they remember and it is a place they want to continue to call home.
Every day that Congress fails to act, 122 more Dreamers lose their status. Congress’ failure to reach an agreement to fund government operations for the remaining eight months of the fiscal year and pass another continued resolution without a solution for Dreamers is unacceptable. It’s time for Congress to do its job – pass a budget and reach a sensible bipartisan solution that protects the 800,000 DREAMers. I urge our elected representatives to come together to pass legislation that serves all our communities and grants a pathway to citizenship for young Dreamers. Any vote to delay protections for Dreamers is a vote to deport them.
Dreamers are a part of our communities. Nearly three-quarters of DACA recipients have a U.S. citizen sibling, spouse, or child. The President’s action to end DACA undercuts the value we as Americans have historically placed on keeping families together, and destabilizes the status of thousands of people who live in our communities, worship in our churches, and call America home.
Any legislation aimed at aiding Dreamers, while increasing border enforcement and harming immigrant families and youth, including family members of Dreamers themselves, is unacceptable. Our immigration system should bring families together, not tear them apart.
My Christian faith teaches me the love of God rests in every human soul, including the vulnerable migrants and refugees in our communities. If you are a person of faith or someone who believes that our country is the land of opportunity, join me in urging our Members of Congress in Michigan to pass legislation that protects Dreamers without harming others. The Dream Act of 2017 truly is the best solution as it is the only bicameral and bi-partisan piece of legislation.
By: Rev. Jack Eggleston
Unity Lutheran Church