Evangelicals Applaud Bipartisan Reintroduction of the Dream Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced the Dream Act, a bill that would allow immigrants brought to the United States as children to earn permanent legal status and eventual citizenship.
Evangelical leaders, like the majority of evangelical Christians throughout the country, believe that these members of our communities ought to be allowed to apply for permanent legal status. We urge other members of Congress to follow the lead of Senators Graham and Durbin in forging bipartisan consensus and finally pass vital legislation to protect Dreamers.
With judicial challenges to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) pending and its future uncertain, the bipartisan bill introduced today would create a process by which current DACA recipients and other individuals brought to the U.S. as children could apply for permanent legal status and, eventually, U.S. citizenship.
The leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table have repeatedly urged Congress to act on a bipartisan basis to permanently resolve the situation of Dreamers, many of whom are members of our congregations, ministries, and campus communities. We applaud today’s reintroduction of the Dream Act and particularly the leadership of Senators Graham and Durbin. We urge quick passage of legislation to permanently protect Dreamers in both chambers of Congress and furthermore urge our congressional leaders to continue this model of bipartisan consensus-building for pass further reforms to our immigration system.
The following are quotes from individual leaders of national evangelical organizations and from local evangelical leaders from Illinois and South Carolina:
Beth Cossin, Network Pastor, Heritage Church, Moline, Illinois, and appointed representative of The Wesleyan Church:
“As a pastor in Illinois, I am so proud that Senator Durbin has once again sponsored the Dream Act, something he has done repeatedly since 2001. I am particularly grateful to both him and Senator Graham for being willing to demonstrate courageous bipartisan leadership to introduce this bill. Working across party lines is the only way forward for our Senators and Representatives as they strive to find common ground to resolve longstanding issues of injustice within our immigration system. The young people in my congregation and throughout this country deserve our best efforts to work together to ensure a better future for all. It is vitally important that evangelicals continue to approach this first and foremost as a biblical issue, reflecting God’s love and compassion for those who have been marginalized.”
Dave Ferguson, Lead Pastor, Community Christian Church, Naperville, Illinois:
“The Dreamers in the church that I lead have been respectfully pleading with our elected officials for years for the opportunity to earn permanent legal status and eventually citizenship. They’re as American as I am, and I’m glad to see our government affirm that they belong here. I’m thankful that Senator Durbin and Senator Graham have worked together on a bipartisan basis to reintroduce this bill, and I’m praying it will finally be passed into law.”
Jim Geyer, Pastor, Summit Church, Simpsonville, South Carolina:
“Senator Graham has demonstrated in the past that he’s committed to actually finding solutions to our country’s immigration challenges, including the constant uncertainty facing DACA recipients and other young people brought to the U.S. as children. By re-introducing the Dream Act, he’s providing leadership on an issue of concern to many Upstate South Carolina evangelicals, who want these essential members of our community to have the security of U.S. citizenship, recognizing that they should not be penalized for decisions made on their behalf when they were children. I hope that Senator Scott and other U.S. Senators and Representatives will follow his lead in supporting this bipartisan legislation.”
Tim Holt, Founder, Seacoast Vineyard Church, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina:
“Dreamers are not free-loaders but doctors, small business owners, nurses, students, childcare providers and church members. Those of us who are pastors, who are involved in our local churches, have come to love and respect these precious brothers and sisters as they use their God-given gifts to better our communities. I appreciate that our Senator Graham has led the way in seeking a permanent solution by passing the Dream Act. I join the many throughout South Carolina and our country in praying that it will pass.”
Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities:
“The CCCU has supported a permanent solution for Dreamers since the Dream Act was first introduced in 2001, and we continue to advocate for policies that recognize the dignity with which God has endowed all people, regardless of their ethnicity, race, or place of origin. We believe a bipartisan, permanent legislative solution for Dreamers from Congress is the best means to provide a long-term solution for these young people and their communities. As Christians, we are called to care for those who are most vulnerable. Jesus says in Matthew 25:40, ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ There is hardly a population who better fits this description than young people without a legal home who face an uncertain future.”
Matthew Miller, Pastor, Greenville Multicultural Church, Greenville, South Carolina:
“As a pastor in South Carolina, I am calling on all of Congress to come together to pass the Dream Act. I am thankful for the renewed focus and attention that Senators Graham and Durbin are giving to this effort. I have the privilege of knowing many Dreamers in my congregation and in my community. They want to be doctors and teachers. They help lead our efforts to distribute food to those in need. They are role models for my own children and the other children in our church. It is time we formally recognize our support and appreciation for the Dreamers by giving them Permanent Resident status.”
Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“Dreamers are not an abstraction. They are people created in the image of God, who were brought here as children by their parents. In our quest for justice for our vulnerable neighbors, I am grateful to Senators Durbin and Graham for their bipartisan reintroduction of the DREAM Act. Those who have lived as good neighbors and contributed so greatly to our country should be protected from the constant threat of having their lives upended. Most Americans agree on this question, which is quite a feat in times as divided as these. Congress should move immediately to protect our Dreamer neighbors.”
Susan Sperry, Executive Director, World Relief Chicagoland, Carol Stream, Illinois:
“At World Relief’s four Illinois locations, we’ve assisted thousands of young people to request and renew applications for DACA in recent years. Along with hundreds of local church partners, we have prayed and advocated with and for them when it has looked at various moments like their ability to reside and work lawfully in the U.S. would be withdrawn. Even now, ongoing legal challenges have many worried about their future. Only legislation with bipartisan support, such as what Senators Durbin and Graham introduced today, can provide the certainty and affirmation of belonging that these Dreamers deserve.”
The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.