President Walter on DACA and the Way Forward

CHICAGO, IL (September 7, 2017) – I join with other Christian leaders in expressing deep concern around the future of immigrant young people currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA participants encompass roughly 800,000 young adults who have really only known the United States as home, having arrived here as minors. To have enrolled in DACA means each one stepped forward in good faith, submitting to screening for both criminal activity and national security. DACA participants are fellow Covenanters, neighbors, university students (including some at North Park), taxpayers, and friends who also generate jobs, goods, and services for all Americans.

And now, in the immediacy of White House action to sunset DACA protections in six months unless there is legislative action by Congress, DACA participants face cavernous uncertainty and fear. This is essentially the only country they have ever known. Now they must wonder if the only country they have ever known will honor the commitments made.

Immigration matters have long begged for a comprehensive legislative solution. Perhaps DACA can now be the catalyst. It is unconscionable that leadership from Washington across parties, across administrations, and across both houses of Congress has repeatedly failed to find a thorough way forward. Now is the time for both Capitol Hill and the White House to find a comprehensive course, a way that morally keeps promises made to DACA participants.

We remember our own Swedish immigrant roots as a denomination. And as people of the Book, we remember time after time that Scripture instructs us that how we treat the refugee, the foreigner, the newcomer speaks to how we represent God. From the Hebrew Exodus to Jesus escaping to Egypt, the very story of the people of God is profoundly marked by safety found in the journey to somewhere else. The longing of DACA participants and their families reminds us of that reality still.

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9 Comments

  1. It is my understanding that by registering for DACA demonstrates that these young people are in that process and are proving themselves “worthy candidates”. They have done and are doing what has been prescribed. We as a nation should honor our part of the agreement.

  2. Gracias!! Through your statement the heart of the coventry is expressed, seen and felt! For it is not what goes into the mind but what comes out of the heart that lets us know about a movement. Pastor Tomas Sanabria

  3. Any concern at all for our Constitution and the rule of law, or should everyone do what is right in his own eyes (to paraphrase Judges 17:6)? Our Swedish immigrant ancestors followed the law and became American citizens the legal way. Please don’t degrade their integrity by comparing them to this disregard for our country and its Constitution.

    1. If we are going to have this conversation, we should have it carefully and with appropriate historical information. 1. When our Swedish ancestors immigrated, there were few if any restrictions on European immigration — immigrating legally meant a) you or someone else paid your passage, b) you weren’t a known criminal, and c) you passed a basic health exam. 2. If they immigrated after 1921, Swedes benefited from racist immigration restrictions (based on scientific eugenics) that privileged white, northern Europeans and sought to exclude persons of color. 3. “Dreamers” were brought to this country long before what any reasonable person would consider the age of accountability, and had the moral fortitude to come forward as non-citizens, registering with the American government so they could make a positive contribution to American culture out in the open. 4. American immigration law, according to all who are in the know, including President Trump and Republican leaders of Congress, needs serious reform and has not kept pace with the realities of twenty-first century globalism.

      No thoughtful advocate of DACA or immigration reform advocates for open borders or abrogation of the rule of law. And as Christians, Scripture makes clear to us that the we are to love and sacrifice for the immigrant, the visitor, the sojourner in our land; and that we are to practice hospitality and seek justice for those who live among us, and who have experienced injustice. Yes, this is an issue of immigration law; however, it is also an issue of justice, sound immigration policy, and Christian compassion.

  4. I guess I would like to know why these people who are now in their 20s and 30s, have not gotten their citizenship yet,if they love our country so much.

  5. Thank you, Gary, for this well-articulated and needed statement. As members of the ECC, let’s pray for Congress to do the right thing…Let’s keep our promises to DACA participants.

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