Blessing Not Burden | January 11, 2018
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Happy New Year! We hope everyone is feeling rejuvenated to continue the important work of advocacy!

Here’s a 2017 recap:

  • On Sept. 5, the administration announced its termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
  • All eyes were on the Dream Act, a bipartisan, long-term solution bill that would provide an eventual pathway to citizenship for young people brought to the United States under the age of 18 who currently lack the opportunity to gain legal status.
  • Despite persistent advocacy from Dreamers and the faith community, Congress failed to act by Christmas recess.

So what now?

  • The next best opportunity to pass the Dream Act is alongside the government funding bill that Congress must pass by January 19.
  • Yesterday, the President and a group of bipartisan legislators met and outlined  issues that may be part of a “DACA deal”: border security and restrictions on two legal immigration paths: “chain migration” (usually referred to as “family unification”) and the diversity visa.
  • While this deal seems likely,  faith-based advocacy can still give voice to the importance of keeping families together. This week a federal judge ordered the administration to continue accepting DACA renewals for the thousands of individuals whose status has expired since the Sept. 5 announcement to terminate the program. DACA is a temporary protection, and only action from Congress provides a longstanding solution. Your advocacy is still critical! 

Join Congregations Praying and Acting for Dreamers on January 14

How can you church  pray and act for Dreamers in this critical moment?

  1. Use the prayer below during worship on Sunday, January 14.
  2. Invite members to advocate for Dreamers after worship using these free advocacy postcards.
  3. Tell us your plans and how it went! We love to be able to report to lawmakers the bold actions that people of faith are taking.

Suggested prayer:
"God, we lift in prayer young immigrants, Dreamers, who face an uncertain future because their DACA status has expired or will in the near future, and who are relying on an act of Congress to grant them permanent legal status in the country they call home. We pray for employers who have hired Dreamers; for teachers, professors, and mentors who are investing in Dreamers to help them realize their potential; for parents longing to see their children succeed and their safety protected; for pastors shepherding young parishioners through this frightening time. We offer to you the hopes, the fears, the uncertain future, the dreams that depend on this decision. We pray for members of Congress, asking that they would act wisely and decisively, with mercy as they seek justice for Dreamers. Amen."

Refugee Arrivals Report Card

“On September 29, 2017, the Trump Administration announced a historically low refugee admissions ceiling of 45,000 for federal Fiscal Year 2018. In order to reach this ceiling, the Administration must resettle 3,750 refugees each month. Concerned that the Administration will not resettle even this small number, Refugee Council USA plans to grade the Administration’s progress on a monthly basis. We must hold the Administration accountable.” Continue reading »

Challenging False Narratives about Immigrants

"Jesus was not afraid to confront the false narratives of his time, challenging conventional notions of who is the enemy and who is the neighbor, of who should be lifted up and who should be made low. His admonitions to care for the poor, the prisoners, and the strangers (Matthew 25:31-46) serve as enduring reminders to challenge government policies that reject those who migrate, those who have been convicted of crimes, and those who struggle to have enough." Continue reading »

'Chain Migration' and DACA: An Explainer

Over the past few weeks, you may have heard the phrase “chain migration” used quite often. This term refers to sponsorship of prospective immigrants by family members in the U.S. who have green cards and were sponsored by other family members in the past, giving the impression of a “chain” of migration. It is critical that we have an accurate understanding of how our family-based immigration system works. Fears related to "chain migration" through a path to citizenship for Dreamers are based on myths and cannot drive our immigration policies. Learn more here about how family immigration works and the impact that citizenship for Dreamers would have on family immigration. Continue reading »

A Counterproductive Approach to a Broken Immigration System

This week, the Department of Homeland Security announced its decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, effective Sept. 2019. This decision affects almost 200,000 Salvadorans in the United States and their families, many of whom have lived in the country for over 20 years. The decision has deep human and economic costs for both the U.S. and El Salvador. “Many, if not most, are unlikely to voluntarily return to a country that they no longer call home and instead may seek to stay illegally. . . . In effect, as of September 2019 there will be a group of newly unauthorized migrants living in the United States equivalent to the population of Salt Lake City.” Continue reading »

In Case You Missed It . . .

  • Advocate for the Dreamers right here!
  • CRC Members Take Part in Call-in to Support Dreamers On Dec. 20, CRC members in Grand Rapids, Mich., joined together at the CRC denominational office to participate in a national call-in day for Dreamers -- by telephoning their members of Congress to express their support for the Dream Act.
  • Immigrants Are a Blessing Litany Use this litany in your Sunday worship as a way to remember the blessing of the "stranger" throughout Scripture and to give thanks for our immigrant and refugee neighbors today.