Today the Rev. Paul M. Turner of Gentle Spirit Christian Church signed the Interfaith Dream Act Sign On Letter, whose text is as follows:
Dear Members of Congress,
As people of faith, we believe we’re all members of one spiritual family. Dreamers are our beloved siblings. We strive to love our neighbor and uphold everyone’s innate human dignity. Dreamers worship in our pews, study in our schools, and work in our communities. For many, this is where they learned to ride a bike, celebrate our nation’s holidays, and serve their communities. They are mothers, fathers, teachers, nurses, lawyers, scientists, and leaders of a new generation of Americans – and they make our nation stronger. The decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) before legislation was enacted to protect them from deportation was immoral, as it leaves nearly 800,000 individuals facing an unknown future.
We, a diverse community of religious leaders, ask Congress to act today. Dreamers cannot wait, our businesses cannot wait, and our country cannot wait. We urge all Members of Congress to immediately pass a clean Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615/H.R. 3440), which provides a long overdue pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth.
Congress must pass the Dream Act immediately as a matter of moral urgency. Despite the purported six-month delay in enforcement, the consequences of terminating DACA are immediate, devastating, and profound. No new applications are being considered, and current recipients will see their protection revoked starting in March. Some recipients may have their protection jeopardized sooner if their status expires before then and they are unable to pay nearly $500 in fees, or ensure that the Department of Homeland Security receives their renewal requests by October 5. Leaving DACA recipients and other Dreamers in limbo violates our nation’s values and sends a message of exclusion to immigrant youth, some of whom do not have family or a support system in their birth country. Many do not remember it, or even speak the language.
Dreamers have worked tirelessly for the country they call home to recognize them as our own. The bi-partisan Dream Act of 2017 is the culmination of that legacy. We stand with these brave individuals who embody our ideals and the future of this great country. Dreamers inspire us to live into our shared faith values of unconditional love for our neighbors and determined belief in the possibility of justice for all people. Their vision is our vision, that we can realize an immigration system that affirms the sanctity of family unity, respects the rights and dignity of all, and makes the American Dream truly achievable.
We have grave concerns about proposals to attach harmful immigration enforcement increases with relief for Dreamers. Pairing relief for Dreamers with policy that puts their parents, siblings, and other immigrants at increased risk of deportation or detention or further infringes upon the rights and safety of border communities is unacceptable. Our outdated immigration system leaves millions unjustly detained, separated from family, and locked out of regularizing their status. Congress must enact a clean Dream Act of 2017 without attaching it to increased immigration enforcement.
We are people of faith, grounded in the teachings of our varied traditions. When there is injustice, we are called to right it. Our faith demands that we be agents of community restoration. We pray for this nation and for all people seeking safe, stable, and fruitful lives. We pray with Dreamers for relief as they face an unknown future. We pray that you – our Members of Congress – will do everything in your power to immediately pass a clean Dream Act of 2017.