October Prayer Partner: Dreamers Are at Risk. Do I Care Enough to Make a Phone Call? To Get onto My Knees?
Earlier this month, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the finding of a lower court that the DACA program – which since launched in 2012 has allowed roughly 800,000 “Dreamers” who arrived in the U.S. as children to reside and work lawfully – was created illegally.
While the court’s decision maintains the status quo for the moment (DACA remains open to renewals from those who already have it pending further court decisions, though no new applications are being processed) it underscores the vulnerability of this policy on which many of our neighbors depend.
I don’t want to be alarmist, but it’s important to be honest: this legal challenge will, sooner or later, be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, at which point past rulings on a similar “deferred action” policy make it quite clear that DACA is likely to be terminated.
Employers will then be legally required to lay off an estimated 22,000 Dreamers every month for two years as their work authorization lapses. It will be a crisis – not only for those Dreamers, but for their families (including hundreds of thousands of U.S.-born children who depend upon a Dreamer parent), their churches and communities and for our national economy, exacerbating a labor shortage that is already fueling inflation.
There’s an obvious solution: 4 out of 5 evangelicals surveyed recently by Lifeway Research affirmed in a recent poll that they’d support congressional action that would include a path to citizenship for Dreamers. But I think it’s fair to presume that only a small share of those have actually done anything to change the situation.
There are two things you could do that I believe would help avert this crisis – both easier said than done.
The first is to call your Senators’ offices. I’ve been around long enough to know this really works – I’ve been on Capitol Hill when a particular policy upset enough Americans that the phones were ringing off the hook… and, then, within a day or two, watched re-election-minded politicians act.
But I also know that the reason these phone calls have an effect is that few Americans are willing to make them – which I understand. I hate making phone calls, especially to people I don’t know. I’d much rather text, email or tweet at someone. But for better or worse, telephone calls, with messages noted by a receptionist (often a college-aged intern) or recorded on a voicemail, are still the primary gauge that many congressional offices to measure public opinion on any given issue.
So, if you care about what happens to Dreamers, would you be willing to make a phone call or two? This online tool makes it easy – just fill in some basic information, click on the “Call Officials” button on the bottom of the next page, and it will call you (no dialing necessary) and connect you to your Senate office. There’s even a sample script to follow.
The other action you can take is, in some ways, even easier – but I confess I too rarely set aside significant time to do it. God invites us to present our requests before him in prayer (Philippians 4:6), advocating persistently for justice (Luke 18:1-8).
Years ago, some dear friends who were immigrants from East Africa learned that my wife Diana and I had been trying unsuccessfully to have a child. They assured us they would pray for us – but they didn’t just say they would pray for us. Several months later, when we jubilantly shared with them the good news that Diana was pregnant, they told us they’d been waking up early and fasting each Thursday for months, fervently praying for God to bless us with a baby.
I thank God for my now-nine-year-old daughter, whom I know is an answer to their prayers – and I’m challenged: am I willing to set aside time to fervently ask God to provide a solution for my friends whose livelihoods are on the line if Congress doesn’t pass a solution for Dreamers?
I’ll at least commit to this: I’ll be online to pray next Monday, October 31 at 4 PM ET/3 PM CT/2 PM MT/1 PM PT. I encourage you to join me – we’ll break into smaller groups if we have a large number of participants. Click here to join us on Zoom or here to add the time to your calendar.
National Coordinator, Evangelical Immigration Table