Opinion: Faith leaders support Michigan Dreamers during DACA hearings
As pastors of strong Michigan faith communities, we are deeply concerned about the fate of some of our congregants and hundreds of thousands of others, unless the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The Trump administration’s morally misguided decision to arbitrarily end the DACA program endangers young people who were brought to the U.S. as children without documents, also known as “Dreamers," who under the program have been able to get temporary permits to live and work in the U.S. and be protected from deportation.
The faith community strongly opposes the ending of DACA on moral, spiritual and religious grounds, which were outlined in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court by more than 100 leaders from a broad spectrum of faiths. The high court will hears oral arguments today.
Our support for the very successful DACA program is grounded in Biblical teachings to do no harm to the sojourner. Furthermore, DACA recipients are good for our society, actively involved in our congregations, neighborhoods and at work. They are here pursuing the American Dream, paying taxes, supporting families and communities, despite the fear-mongering we’ve heard from some politicians trying to divide us.
That political tactic is immoral and must be stopped. As the legal brief by faith leaders stated, “The attempt to crack down on Dreamers is a serious, cynical, evil action that has nothing to do with safety or justice. We have a theological and moral obligation to oppose these forces.”
The impact of shutting down DACA will have enormous consequences for over 700,000 current program participants, but also for our faith communities, and all who seek prayerful guidance for our nation at their houses of worship.
For DACA permit holders, a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the White House’s decision to end the program would be devastating, condemning them either to deportation or to a life lived in hiding.
Either result is inhumane. They followed the rules hoping Congress would some day create a path to citizenship and provide an opportunity to live freely, only to have their dreams threatened and their lives as they know them upturned.
Our mission is to offer spiritual guidance and sanctuary to all in need. Our congregants worship and socialize together, without judging each other based on immigration status. To have these vibrant young people suddenly disappear, one by one, from our lives would be devastating to our community and a tragedy for those left behind to comprehend the inhumanity of our government.
The truth is that none of this is warranted, and it's in direct conflict with Jesus’ teachings to treat our neighbors as ourselves. The DACA program has worked, and our churches support it. We can only hope and pray that the U.S. Supreme Court sees the legality of the program and the efforts to destroy it as unconstitutional and immoral.
Fr. Stephen Dudek is a minister of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Wyoming, Mich. Rev. Dr. Jill Zundel is a reverend at Central United Methodist Church in Detroit.