How United Methodists can advocate for the DREAM Act

Hundreds march for DACA and the Dream Act in Nashville, Tenn., on Sept. 5, 2017. UMNS photo.

September 06, 2017

On Sept. 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration is ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program protecting almost 800,000 undocumented immigrant young people, or “DREAMers,” from deportation by providing them with legal status and work authorization.
The Trump Administration’s decision crosses a moral line. As people of faith, we see a clear violation of the biblical principles of hospitality, compassion, and justice; a direct dismissal of God’s command to love. As United Methodists, we see policy that goes against our tradition – and harms our community. 
“DACA recipients are strong and vital contributors to society. They sit in United Methodist pews and stand in United Methodist pulpits,” the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society.
As DACA was established by President Obama in a 2012 executive order, the President does have the power to take this action. However, others—you included—also have the power to make change. This is the time for public outcry. 
What you can do: 
  • ADVOCATE. Call on your members of Congress to pass the DREAM Act, bipartisan legislation that protects DACA recipients and provides a pathway to citizenship. The DREAM Act has been considered by Congress since 2001 and was reintroduced this year by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The DREAM Act is the best legislation to protect the DACA community. It needs to pass by March of 2018.
Call your representative first at 1-888-496-3502
Then call your senators at 1-888-410-0619 (Be sure to call twice!)
And then send a letter to each member here!
Since 2012, The United Methodist Church has supported the DREAM Act – see resolution #3164.
For a special advocacy opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., keep reading below.
  • ORGANIZE. Just as important as advocating to those with power is standing with those without. Faith communities are uniquely positioned to aid impacted communities and to call for moral leadership. The United Methodist Immigration Task Force released a Call to Action on DACA for United Methodist churches in the US, listing concrete steps United Methodist churches should take in the face of this decision. In addition to addressing the spiritual, mental and emotional assault this decision represents, the immigrant and DACA community will need concrete, tangible resources as their financial livelihoods become uncertain. Utilize resources in your church and annual conference, engage your district superintendents and bishops, and partner with other congregations to support DACA recipients and immigrants in your community.
  •  WRITE. Write to the editor in your local paper, your members of Congress, Attorney General Jeff Session, and the President. Write also to leaders in your local community—business owners, schools, faith communities, and others. Ask them to take a stand for immigrant youth. Share your story. If local leaders have already taken a stand, reach out to see how you can work together.
  • SPEAK. Speak to your family, surrounding community, and circle of influence. If you are a pastor or faith leader, speak to your congregation. Speak to those directly affected by this decision in your community, and form relationships between impacted communities and others.
  • SEEK ASSISTANCE. If you are a DACA recipient, get accurate and up-to-date information from sources such as We Are Here to Stay and United We Dream. Though March 2018 marks the point at which the 6-month period for DACA ends, DACA protection may end sooner, as it must be renewed on an individual basis. Persons whose DACA renewal is up before March 2018 may apply for a renewal by October 5, 2017.