The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, one of the largest protestant denominations in the United States with more than 3.7 million members and 9,300 congregations nationwide, has a long history of standing alongside migrants and refugees. Every day we see the gifts that young Americans without legal status, also known as Dreamers, and their families bring to our congregations and communities.
Following the Administration’s announcement that it will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which gave Dreamers relief from deportation and the ability to work, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, called on Congress to pass legislation to protect these young people:
“As we lament this change in policy, we call on members of Congress to pass long-overdue legislation to protect young people brought to the U.S. as children… Our churches, our schools, our communities and the country are enhanced by their presence and contributions. It is time that our immigration policy reflects their gifts to all of us.”
Recently released White House Immigration Principles and Policies outline changes in immigration policy to be considered alongside legislation to protect Dreamers. These principles take away trafficking protections for children, make it harder for people seeking protection to find refuge in our country, and reduce the ability of families to be unified. We urge Congress to reject these principles and instead pass legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers without creating policies that lead to family separation or crippling the ability for people to seek safety in our country.
Dismantling key pieces of our immigration system is not the way forward. No young person should have to choose between their own future and the safety of their family, friends or community.
As Christians, our call to welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, and care for the sick comes from our desire to carry on Jesus’ faith and practice. With fewer than 6 months until thousands more lose protection, we renew our call to Members of Congress to pass legislation that protects Dreamers without harming other immigrants.
Learn more about the ELCA’s commitment to work toward just and humane policies affecting migrants in and outside the U.S. by visiting ELCA.org/AMMPARO
To learn more about Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service’s work with refugees and other vulnerable migrants visit LIRS.org.