Washington, DC – (6/18/2020) Today, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s illegal cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Read faith leader quotes, including Rev. Terri Hord Owens, GMP, here. Read quotes from DACA beneficiaries working for faith-based institutions, including Valeria Bejar, Disciples Immigration Response Specialist, here.
(June 18, 2020) Today, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration cannot immediately end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and called the move to do so “arbitrary and capricious.” DACA has lifted up the lives of more than 700,000 Dreamers since 2012, enabling them to work, pursue their educations, and live with less fear.
While this ruling is great news, it is not yet a permanent solution for DACA recipients. Only legislation by Congress, such as the American Dream and Promise Act passed a year ago by the House but not yet taken up by the Senate, could make protections for DACA recipients permanent.
Disciples leaders reacted to today’s decision with the messages below. YOU and your congregation are invited to learn more and to consider public witness in support of DACA recipients on this coming Monday, June 22nd, by doing the following:
BE A PART OF THESE MONDAY, JUNE 22, “DACA DAY” EVENTS!:
Rev. Teresa (Terri) Hord Owens, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the USA and Canada said: “Today’s decision gratefully values the long and deep contributions DACA recipients have made to our congregations and communities; including the faithfulness of more than 27,000 essential DACA workers who have been protecting us all as essential health workers during the pandemic. We are a stronger nation because of all our neighbors, and we praise the court’s resistance to tearing 700,000 families apart. The justices’ decision also upholds our faith heritage that seeks to ‘bring wholeness to a fragmented world’ and to reflect the great love of a God who created every life in our Maker’s own image. Now, we pray today’s ruling will be soon replaced by permanent legislative protections that allow DACA leaders to continue to pursue education, build careers, raise families, and worship God without constant threats.”
“I can vividly recall the first time I heard about DACA, a program set to deliver all those who had been living in the shadows of the system,” said Valeria Bejar, Immigration Response Specialist, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and a DACA recipient. “Now, that hope and light I felt then can continue, and DACA can allow for 700,000+ immigrant youth to dream dreams and hold hopes that otherwise are impossible. However, to avoid living with ongoing uncertainty, we must have a legislative solution, one that continues to offer us stability, progress, and a future. We urge the Senate to take up now a permanent solution such as The American Dream and Promise Act, which has been in the Senate’s hands for over a year. We must continue the fight for justice and progress for immigrant communities, so those who come after us can continue to dream.”
“Our souls are relieved on this morning to hear today’s Supreme Court DACA decision, and our minds are filled with the faces and families of faithful Disciples DACA leaders we deeply respect; who have fought and suffered through anxieties and uncertainties for far too long. Standing in partnership, we celebrate the justices’ wisdom, and we believe with the prophet Isaiah that ‘The Lord longs to be gracious to you…and will rise up to show you compassion.’ Therefore, we will continue to pray and will not stop acting until permanent protections for DACA and TPS recipients and their families are won. For, we believe that–in the midst of all challenges and moments–‘the Lord is a God of justice!’” (Isaiah 30:18), said Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries
Natalie Teague, Esq., Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel, commented: “Today, the Supreme Court held the Trump administration accountable for its arbitrary and capricious decision to rescind DACA in September 2017. Since 2012, DACA has opened the door for nearly 700,000 young people who arrived as children and have only known the U.S. as home. Besides allowing lawful employment, DACA has given peace of mind that these children would not be pursued for deportation. DACA youth have provided enormous contributions to our country, and it is past time for the Senate to pass the Dream and Promise Act, HR6, to provide a permanent, legislative solution to the DACAmented who are #HereToStay because #HomeIsHere. As an immigration attorney who has worked with hundreds of DACA youth, my heart rejoices with them and their families today.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is due to announce its decision soon on whether the DACA program – which has lifted up the lives and provided work authorization for over 700,000 Dreamers since 2012 – can stand, or whether attempts to end it will succeed. The court is likely to announce its decision on a remaining Monday or Thursday during June. There is also a slight chance the decision could be delayed until July, due to COVID-19.
You and your church can prepare to stand with DACA leaders in these ways:
3. NOW, SIGN ON TO THIS LETTER urging the US Senate to pass permanent protections for DACA leaders. NO MATTER WHAT the Supreme Court ruling is, only a policy change will offer permanent protections.
And, stay tuned for many more ways after the decision that you can continue to act in solidarity for protections of DACA and TPS recipients and their families!
Further #DACABells4Justice Information:
See images here to use on Twitter and Facebook —
And, share these sample tweets and posts to encourage other individuals and churches to ring #DACABells4Justice!—
At 12 pm ET on the day after the SCOTUS decision on DACA, we will be joining in a chorus of bells across the country in support of DACA recipients.
Learn more and join: https://bit.ly/Bells4Justice
12 pm ET on [Date]
Ring them in your steeples, on your front porch, or in the streets to call attention to the impact of the SCOTUS decision on DACA recipients: https://bit.ly/Bells4Justice
From the steeples to the streets, join us on [Date] at 12 pm ET to gather people of faith to pray and respond to the SCOTUS decision on DACA.
Learn more and join: https://bit.ly/Bells4Justice
Also, continue to go to the Lenten Resources to pray with DACA recipients and help your congregation prepare to stand with DACA recipients before and following the Supreme Court’s decision:
Nov. 11, 2019–The Supreme Court begins discussion on November 12th on whether it was legal for DACA program to have been ended in September 2017. Before and following that time, follow here: https://homeishere.us for ways you can partner with DACA recipients locally and nationally to support their efforts for a permanent solution to end anxieties and potential family separation.
Disciples RIM Director, Rev. Sharon Stanley-Rea and Disciples Immigration Response Specialist, Rev. Valeria Bejar, joined DACA Marchers in the final leg of their 230 mile march from NY City to the Supreme Court on Nov. 10 (see images above, and read here about the march), and at the Supreme Court on Nov. 12.
What Are the Top 5 Ways Disciples Congregations & Individuals Can Support
DACA Recipients in This Critical Time?
1. Read and share these voices from the many DACA recipients in our “Disciples Family”:
Read here link to reflections from Disciples DACA Recipient Tania Diaz on the Question, “What Would Happen if DACA Ended?”
Read here link for reflections from Disciples Immigrant Response Specialist, Valeria Bejar, a DACA Recipient who imagines what might happen to her life and family if DACA were to end.
Read also here link to understand more deeply the experiences of family members who are living in mixed status families, and facing fears of deportation. Again, these perspectives are offered by Disciples Immigrant Response Specialist, Valeria Bejar, a DACA Recipient.
3. Invite Interested DACA Recipients to Share their Wisdom and stories with your community and congregation. Coordinate to invite guest speakers through your local immigrant rights group, or contact UnitedWeDream for suggestions for ways your congregation can offer support.
4. Raise Your Faith Voice Publicly in Support of DACA Recipients. Learn more about DACA and faith communities in this #Faith4DACA powerpoint: IIC DACA 2019 Presentation. See this #Faith4DACAToolkit for pages of suggestions and resources about how your faith voice can help influence permanent solutions and join the #Faith4DACA campaign!
–Looking to help your congregation learn more about the benefits offered by DACA recipients, and also the challenges and fears faced by DACA recipient families? Consider showing The Unafraid video, about DACA recipients in Georgia. Reserve the DVD through Valeria Bejar at: firstname.lastname@example.org
–Sign up here to host a screening of the film “Stories Beyond Borders” to promote action for immigrant justice in your community: http://www.workingfilms.org/stories-beyond-borders/host/
May, 2019, Washington, DC – In May, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation to protect more than 2 million immigrants from deportation. The American Dream and Promise Act (HR 6) creates a pathway to citizenship for young people who have grown up in the United States, commonly referred to as “dreamers,” and other long-term U.S. residents who have lived and worked in the U.S. under the TPS and DED programs.
Tonight, the House Rules Committee meets to write a rule for floor consideration of HR 6. Tomorrow, the House will vote on the complete package. Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President and other members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition offered statements in support. Statements here
On the one year anniversary date from the time DACA was terminated, RIM’s Director speaks out about our ongoing needs for protections of DACA recipients. At this time, renewal applications are still being accepted for those who currently have DACA or have had DACA in the past, even if it’s already expired. But things are changing quickly, and it is important to apply SOON. Go here: http://iamerica.org/daca
INDIANAPOLIS (March 6, 2018) Today, seven Disciples affiliated clergy, Rev. Linda McCrae, Rev. Carolyn Higginbotham, Rev. Jim Higginbotham, Rev. Jon Barnes, Rev. Dawn Barnes, Rev. Sandra Gourdet, and Rev. Don McCord participated in a faith vigil of prayerful solidarity in support of passage of the Dream Act, and in opposition to excessive and enhanced enforcement which threatens to separate immigrant families. A Disciples clergy spouse and Methodist Pastor, Rev. Ronnie Bell, also joined the group. The vigil was led by Faith in Indiana partners, an affiliate of the PICO faith organizing network, and was held in the street between the locations of offices for Senator Joe Donnelly and Senator Todd Young in Indianapolis. Indianapolis is the location for the headquarters of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada. Read more
(March 5, 2018) On this day when the President proclaimed DACA protections would end unless a Congressional decision was reached, dreamers remain insecure in the absence of a legislative solution—and protected only because the courts have held up the program’s elimination. As we pray for dreamers and their families in this time, we URGE Congress to finalize permanent protections by passing a clean Dream Act without excessive added enforcement that would harm their families. See this statement below from Rev. Terri Hord Owens:
Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada: “For many years, DACA recipients and immigrant youth of similar backgrounds have been our neighbors in nearly every community, our classmates in colleges and seminaries, and our friends in workplaces. They also are key leaders in our churches who have demonstrated bravery, faithfulness, and determination as they have contributed consistently to build up the strength of their families, neighborhoods, and congregations. Our relationships with these fine young people and their families help us to fulfill our call to welcome the sojourner and experience unity among the diverse tapestry of communities in our church and nation.
I continue to mourn for the wound that was opened in the hearts of the more than three quarters of a million youth and their families when DACA was rescinded in September—and who continue to live in fear lacking a legislative solution now six months later. Our faith compels us to support the well-being and healing of those who offer their gifts generously to our nation. We therefore continue to urge immediate passage of The Dream Act of 2017 by Congress, which would offer stability to the lives of immigrant leaders. Such a solution must not be offered as a “trade off” for excessive enforcement that would have perilous consequences for immigrant parents, border communities, and all of us who love them. We are committed to continuing work for compassionate immigration reforms that can support family unity, offer a stable future to hardworking immigrants, and enable them to fully utilize their God-granted gifts without fears of deportation.” Read more and statements of other faith leaders
As we prepare soon to gather around tables again and again during the holiday season, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries invites your congregation and members to consider inviting dreamers to be a part of your celebrations! From now through mid-December, please participate in “Dreamers Welcome at the Table” by using the pictures, stories, Bible Studies, and advocacy materials below to listen to and support dreamers. And, contact Sharon at: 202-957-7826 or email@example.com if you’d like assistance to contact potential dreamers in your area!
Please begin to use the image at the right as a picture with the blurb above for “Advertising” this effort: