We write to you today to pledge our action - and to invite yours - on behalf of 800,000 DREAMers across the country, including the DREAMers in our own Diocese. These young men and women were brought to this country as children; America is the only home they have ever known. As a result of yesterday’s decision to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), they are now threatened with punishment for decisions they did not make.
We your bishops meet DREAMers and their families as we visit congregations. We hear their stories. We learn of the hopes of young people who grew up in the United States, who go to school and play sports and work to help support their families. We hear the dreams for college and safe futures for young people who are as American as any others who grew up on this soil. We ache with them as they speak of their fear of being separated from their families, of being sent to foreign lands that they don’t remember, whose culture and, in some cases, whose language they do not know. DREAMers and their families are here in our Diocese, especially but not exclusively in our congregations that worship in Spanish. Some of those congregations are the fastest growing in the Diocese of Virginia. Our DREAMers are a part of vibrant growth and life that the Spirit is revealing to us.
We join with the majority of Americans who support DREAMers and believe they should be offered a just pathway to citizenship. We stand with DREAMers and invite you to stand with them in concrete ways:
- CALL or WRITE to your representatives in Congress urging them to pass the DREAM Act and to protect DACA recipients. Congress has the power to act before any currently protected young people lose their ability to work, study and live without fear in the United States. The congressional switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.
- DONATE to a DACA recipient who needs financial support to submit a DACA renewal application by the October 5 deadline.
- VOLUNTEER. Local legal services organizations in Northern Virginia and across the Commonwealth are hosting legal clinics to train volunteers in how best to support timely submissions of DACA renewals by October 5.
- WORSHIP and PRAY. A bilingual Prayer Vigil for DREAMers will take place this Friday evening, September 8, 2017, at St. James', Leesburg, at 7 p.m. All are invited.
“The Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” - Deuteronomy 10:17-19
The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston
The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick
With thanks for research and support from Aisha Huertas, diocesan intercultural ministries officer.