Monday is the deadline set by the Trump Administration for action on DACA. At stake are the lives of 800,000 young people brought to America facing the loss of protected status. Congress will not rise to the challenge by Monday, but here are 3 reasons to not abandon hope of justice for dreamers.
Reason #1: Legal Avenues Remain Open
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was established by the Executive Action of President Barak Obama in June 2012. The Department of Homeland Security was directed to not prioritize for removal individuals who were brought to the U.S. under the age of 16, had no criminal background and were under the age of 31. In September, President Donald Trump rescinded this executive action.
For more see our September blog – Will you destroy the daring dream of dreamers?
Through December advocates worked with congressional leaders to adopt a Dream Act protecting these young men and women. Overwhelming majorities of the American people support these “Dreamers” recognizing their contributions in the military, education, business and elsewhere. Many of these young men and women only know America as their home.
After a Dream Act failed to move forward at the end of 2017, lawsuits were filed across the country. In January a federal court in California issued an injunction ordering the government to continue to renew DACA for those who had received this status. In February a New York Federal District Court did the same.
The courts and congress
The President did not want to delay enforcement of his decision and skipped over the federal appellate court asking the United State Supreme Court to uphold his actions. This week the United States Supreme Court refused to abandon protocol for the President denying his appeal as premature.
The good news is not in the court cases which will probably not succeed, but in the government agreeing to accept continued renewal applications. Maria is sitting in my office now. She is eight months pregnant with her first child. Maria came to America when she was three years old. America is all she knows. She received DACA allowing her to lawfully work. Maria was afraid she would not be able to renew her application, but she can and a lawyer is helping her do that now.
Finally, while legislative initiatives have stalled that does not mean a Dream Act is not possible. There is another window just before Easter. After that the mid-term elections hold promise of a shift which could turn President Trump back to his support for a Dream Act.
Provide hope – help individuals renew DACA in the court’s window.
Reason #2: God’s people remain active
Dreamers are leading the movement among God’s people. They invite us to love our neighbor, welcome the stranger, and care about systems that impact their flourishing. Thank you dreamers. We listened to dreamers and in October encouraged the church to preach, teach and reach out with them in addressing this challenge.
Read our blog: 3 helpful ways to advance justice for dreamers
Voices of Christian Dreamers recently reached out to the Evangelical Immigration Table and created a powerful prayer guide. Not only is prayer our most powerful weapon against injustice, but joining together in a heavenward justice cry demonstrates our dependence on the Giver of Dreams and Creator of all people.
Many other church and para-church ministries, including Gospel Justice Initiative, are gathering to pray over lunch Monday. We encourage churches and individuals to pray for dreamers as part of prayer services this week and from the pulpit.
Finally, sign up NOW for this ThunderClap, which is basically a pre-programmed tweet or Facebook post that will go live on Monday. The ThunderClap encourages folks to pray on Monday. It also invites them to sign up for the Evangelical Immigration Table’s monthly prayer partner email to remain engaged.
Provide hope – pray and be part of God’s movement seeking the flourishing of all people.
Reason #3: God’s Kingdom welcomes dreamers
Saturday I was at the Kingdom Justice Summit in Madison, Wisconsin. The Summit was designed to pull together churches and people of faith across the city to not simply talk about justice, but coordinate and cooperate in the doing of justice. Door Creek Church started the conference four years ago which now includes 60 different churches and hundreds of people. That’s a demonstration of the Kingdom of God coming together so all may flourish.
One of the Keynote speakers was Tim Mackie of The Bible Project. I encourage you to visit his site and sign up for their newsletter. Tim is a Bible nerd. That’s important. Unless we understand the lens of Scripture which reveals to us God’s heart and His will, we stumble blindly. But when we understand the Biblical narrative of justice and God’s Kingdom, it changes everything. Here is just one of their amazing videos on justice:
The Bible’s hope for justice
Finally, we believe in the importance of bringing Biblical truth into the discussion on justice. Whether one calls this Kingdom justice, Biblical justice or Gospel Justice, understanding God’s big story of rescue and restoration informs our work, our families and our community interaction. Every sphere operates under God’s redemptive work of justice. We want to inspire and train you in practical justice work through our Restore 117 conference at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois on June 8-9.
God’s kingdom welcomes dreamers like Joseph, Esther and Daniel. Young people taken from their places of birth to make a significant difference in advancing God’s kingdom. And God still uses dreamers today. Whether you are a dreamer from another country or a dreamer who is part of a country that is not your real home, we invite you to explore God’s invitation to rescue and restore others so they can flourish as God intends.
Join us at Restore 117 for a conversation on gospel justice and how to practically live God’s restorative work in your community.