United Church of Christ

Commentary: What if Your Dreams Were Ripped Away?

Witness for JusticeImagine if the life you have built through hard work was stripped away. You can no longer drive to work, because you have lost your ability to have a driver’s license. You can no longer work to support your family, because you have lost your work permit. After years of living with a government promise of relief from deportation as long as you follow the rules, there is a renewed fear of being ripped apart from your family and taken to a country you’ve never known.

This is the situation that over 700,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals could face right now, as the 2012 policy faces a Supreme Court decision in the coming months.

Flor, from the Centreville Immigration Forum, an organization that was co-founded by Wellspring UCC, commented to UCC News, “DACA is of great importance in my life, I have had many opportunities, such as a good job, the opportunity to continue college. If DACA ends all my dreams will be destroyed.”

On September 5th, 2017, the Trump administration terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, no longer allowing new DACA applications, claiming that DACA is not legal. This is not about rule of law but about a white nationalist agenda, and we cannot allow it to continue. Rule of law arguments are no longer substantive if the law is fundamentally immoral and oppressive. In Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

This administration at every point is trying to limit immigration and to terminate successful legal programs, such as the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure Whatever happens in the Supreme Court with DACA will also impact the litigation of TPS and DED, because the termination of these programs have also been blocked by federal courts citing racial animus from the administration.

The UCC along with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition has for years written letters, made statements, issued comments and alerts, joined Amicus briefs, engaged in national actions, and supported grassroots actions in solidarity with DACA recipients and the DACA program.

In recent months we have called for swift passage of the bipartisan Dream and Promise Act, a unified and stand-alone legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for all Dreamers as well as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders, which has passed the U.S. House of Representatives but has not moved in the U.S. Senate.

As the highest court in the land determines the fate of so many lives, the UCC has a calling to the love of neighbor, and we cannot stand idly by as families are separated by deportation or as the dreams of our community members are stolen. Together with partner organizations, the UCC is also taking action to stop funding to the ICE and Border Patrol’s deportation machine, to stop the constant attacks on the immigrant community through cutting the purse strings.

Rev. Noel Andersen is UCC & CWS Grassroots Coordinator for Immigrants’ Rights in Washington, D.C.

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