Our hearts are saddened today as almost 800,000 young people actively living in our communities have been told they can no longer live among us unless Congress takes action. This announcement throws the lives of these young people into chaos as they are now fearful about their future in this country. These young people have grown up in our neighborhoods, attended our schools and churches and are leaders in our communities.This program allowed them to have legal status, which allowed them to positively contribute to the communities and the country they love.
President Trump’s plan to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is part of a bigger problem. Current immigration law is broken and needs broad reform in order to better serve our nation’s economic and humanitarian interests. The truth is that we are called to care for our neighbors–those with and without documentation.
Micah 6:8 tells us what God requires–to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. If we are to take this command seriously, we need to pray for and minister to Dreamers and their families in this time of fear and uncertainty. Finally, we should join together and call on our elected officials to work in a bipartisan manner to fix our broken immigration system and provide legal status to these young people.
These young people came to the United States before 2007 and are now between the ages of 15 and 31. Their parents brought them here from other countries without proper immigration papers, which are almost impossible to obtain by Central American immigrants coming to the U.S. to provide labor for this economy.
DACA gave unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. before age 16 a chance to stay here for study or work, provided they were enrolled in high school, had a high school degree or GED equivalent, and did not have a serious criminal conviction.
Those approved for the program were given a work permit and protection from deportation for two years, and those benefits could be renewed.
The practical effect of this announcement is still up in the air, but we do know the following:
No new applications for DACA will be accepted.
Current DACA recipients can renew their status until October 5 and have legal status for another two years.
If Congress fails to act, undocumented immigrants brought here as children will be subject to deportation as of March 5, 2018.
Young children are not a priority for deportation.