As ELCA Lutherans, we stand with our partner, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), in support of young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. These young Americans, also known as Dreamers, were protected from deportation through the Deferred Acton for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), issued a statement lamenting the end of DACA today, saying:
“As we lament this change in policy, we call on members of Congress to pass long-overdue legislation to protect young people brought to the U.S. as children, also known as Dreamers. Our churches, our schools, our communities and the country are enhanced by their presence and contributions. It is time that our immigration policy reflects their gifts to all of us.”
Please take a moment to read and act on the following message from Javier Cuebas, LIRS Director for Advocacy, and learn how you can take action to support Dreamers today. To learn more about how the ELCA accompanies Central American children and families, visit ELCA.org/AMMPARO.
Call on Your Representatives and Congressional Leaders to Protect Dreamers and Support the Dream Act of 2017.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2
Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Administration has terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As a result almost 800,000 vulnerable migrants, who have come to call the United States their home, will be in jeopardy on March 5, 2018.
Under DACA, migrants brought to the U.S. as children were able to receive work permits and a temporary reprieve from the fear of deportation, but not a pathway to permanent legal status. Many of them have as a result found employment (91%), received driver’s licenses (90%), continued their education (72%), and made substantial contributions to their communities and the country (contributing $460.3 billion to our GDP).
With a history of welcoming the stranger in the United States for 75 years, LIRS stands disappointed with the Attorney General’s announcement. Our faith guides us into a call of compassion and empathy, especially for those children and youth who are most vulnerable. Clearly, the outpouring of support from business leaders, faith communities, educators, governors, mayors, Democrats and a growing number of Republicans has made it clear that the country stands with Dreamers. The United States can – and must – continue to provide protections and enact legislative solutions for Dreamers to continue to thrive.
As people of faith tasked with the mission of protecting the most vulnerable, let us urge Congress to act swiftly to pass the Dream Act of 2017.
Javier S. Cuebas
Director for Advocacy
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service