Evangelical Leaders Respond to Judicial Ruling Against DACA, Implore Congress to Act Quickly
Authored by the Evangelical Immigration Table and originally published on evangelicalimmigrationtable.com
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy is unlawful on September 14. Judge Hanen’s order, which is likely to be appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the U.S. Supreme Court, moves the country one step closer to DACA being struck down entirely.
In response, evangelical leaders reiterated their past calls for urgent congressional action, imploring lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow DACA beneficiaries and other Dreamers to pursue permanent legal status “before further court decisions precipitate an even greater crisis.”
In a letter to Members of Congress, prominent evangelical denominations, ministries and organizations explain that the eventual termination of DACA presents “a foreseeable crisis on the near horizon,” when an estimated 600,000 current DACA beneficiaries could lose their work authorization, with ripple effects for their families, churches and the economy. Many other Dreamers who had not been approved for DACA prior to Judge Hanen’s summer 2021 ruling already have been harmed, as new applications have not been processed.
“These dynamics are not theoretical for American evangelicals, many of whom personally know Dreamers who are members of and leaders within our churches, students on our college and seminary campuses and colleagues in our ministries,” the letter reads. It goes on to note that 80% of evangelical voters in a recent Lifeway Research poll said they want Republicans and Democrats to work together on a series of immigration reforms that would include creating a pathway to citizenship for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, along with improvements to border security and reforms to ensure a legal, reliable agricultural workforce.
The following are quotes from leaders of some of the evangelical organizations that signed the letter:
Myal Greene, President & CEO, World Relief:
“Americans, including evangelical Christians, are exhausted by our Congress’s decades-long failure to pass even the most commonsense, broadly popular immigration proposals, such as providing Dreamers with a path to citizenship. I’m praying that this troubling judicial decision will finally spur members of Congress to work together to pass the Dream Act or other legislation that would provide Dreamers the legal affirmation of what we already know to be true: that this is their home and they belong here.”
Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities:
“The CCCU joins the 80% of evangelicals who support a series of immigration reforms, including a path to citizenship for Dreamers. As the DACA program again comes under judicial scrutiny, we call on Congress to create a bipartisan, permanent legislative solution for Dreamers and DACA recipients. Congressional action is the best means to provide a long-term solution for these young people and their communities. Please act quickly to provide certainty for Dreamers who are our students, friends, health care workers, and community and church members.”