Yesterday, as expected, the Trump Administration announced they were rescinding DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the executive order of President Obama, issued in 2012, after Congress failed to pass the Dream Act. This program allows persons who arrived in the United states prior to 2007 and before their 16th birthday to apply for deferred action, allowing them to enroll in college, serve in military, get a work permit, and essentially live openly in the United States. Some 800,000 Dreamers applied and were granted this status. I don't know the merits of the case for or against DACA, but I do believe it was and is the right thing to do. Now that the President is rescinding the order, but giving a six month window before completely ending the program, Congress has a responsibility to do the right thing, and fix this problem.
We are a diverse people, and that's a good thing. I am enriched because of our diversity. While I grew up in a fairly homogeneous community (Oregon is really white), I've spent most of my life living in much more diverse communities, from Southern California to South East Michigan. The city I live in is the most diverse in the state. Some are documented, some are not. Like most immigrants the folks living here came either for economic reasons or because of dangers at home. As immigrants make their home here, they enrich our culture, create jobs, contribute to the community. Unfortunately, there is a Nativist minority in our country that makes a lot of noise, and is pushing against this diversity. This is not our best instinct. We can be better.
So, I stand here in support of the Dreamers. I want to see a more robust and thoughtful program created by Congress, sooner than later. Once we're done with this pressing issue, let's start having a conversation about immigration reform. Let's create a system that is fair and just, a system that enhances and enriches the life of our country. There are economic reasons to do this. But, there are also spiritual reasons to do this.
I appreciate the word offered yesterday by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, a word that was shared by James Martin, SJ on Facebook. Here is the word:
Todays actions represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future. DACA youth are woven into the fabric of our country and our Church, and are, by every social and humane measure, American youth.
While I am not personally affected by this decision, our nation is. We are poorer today, because of this decision. These young adults contribute to the life of our communities, they are, in the words of the USCCB statement "woven into the fabric of our country." They might not at this point be members of my congregation, but they are members of Disciples churches. Some of them likely went to high school with my son in Santa Barbara.
As a person of faith, who believes that the teachings of my faith call for the welcoming of the stranger, I stand with the Dreamers. I call on Congress to act, to do what is right and good.
Whether or not the program is