United Methodist bishops call for a ‘Clean Dream Act’

Bishop Minerva Carcaño (photo by Jay Mallin, UMBCS)

Bishop Minerva Carcaño (photo by Jay Mallin, UMBCS)

United Methodist bishops are urging the United States Congress to pass a Clean Dream Act that would allow undocumented young people the opportunity to work, receive an education and serve in the U.S. military.

In a statement, the bishops said they are praying and urging action for the young people affected by the U.S. government’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The young immigrants, also known as Dreamers, had an October 5 deadline to renew their permits one last time.

“We are praying for DACA recipients and their families and all undocumented immigrant communities as they continue to find themselves in the unending crisis of being undocumented in this country.

By March 5, 2018, Congress must determine how it will respond to this crisis. We urge Congress to begin by passing a Clean Dream Act,” the statement from the bishops said.

The statement signed by Council of Bishops President Bishop Bruce R. Ough and Bishop Minerva Carcaño, chair of the COB Immigration Task Force, noted that a Clean Dream Act should not be used to pit undocumented young people against their parents, families, and immigrant communities. “We continue to believe that government leaders have the wisdom and the resources at their disposal to create and implement a Clean Dream Act that will protect vulnerable young people for whom the U.S. is the only home they know and have,” the bishops said. “A Clean Dream Act could be the beginning of helpful and healing immigration reform in the U.S., and even inspire the reform of migration laws around the world that would help young people everywhere.”

STATEMENT FROM UNITED METHODIST BISHOPS ‘A Clean Dream Act’
WASHINGTON – Today (October 5) was the deadline for DACA recipients to have their renewal forms in to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They had exactly one month to gather their documents, and raise the funds for their renewals and to pay lawyers to assist them. This was no small effort for young people who all too often live in extreme poverty. We are praying for DACA recipients and their families and all undocumented immigrant communities as they continue to find themselves in the unending crisis of being undocumented in this country. By March 5th, 2018, Congress must determine how it will respond to this crisis. We urge Congress to begin by passing a Clean Dream Act. A Clean Dream Act would allow undocumented young people the opportunity to work, receive an education and serve in the U.S. military. It would also provide them with a pathway to citizenship. What it would not do is use undocumented young people against their parents, families, and immigrant communities. Some of the negotiating that is already occurring in Congress and with the Trump Administration would grant a Dream Act but demand the compromise of more dollars for increased immigration enforcement, border security and the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Enforcement, border security and a wall are not the solutions to our broken immigration policies. Using young people to leverage funding for such misdirected efforts that unjustly punish their parents and others, including these very young people, is cruel and gains nothing positive for them or the country. We continue to believe that government leaders have the wisdom and the resources at their disposal to create and implement a Clean Dream Act that will protect vulnerable young people for whom the U.S. is the only home they know and have. A Clean Dream Act could be the beginning of helpful and healing immigration reform in the U.S., and even inspire the reform of migration laws around the world that would help young people everywhere.