A message from GLIDE’s Pastoral Team
A wave of cruelty is sweeping over our country.
On Tuesday the Trump Administration moved to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the immigration policy that gave “Dreamers” a fairer chance to thrive in the United States. Rightly, DACA made undocumented minors eligible for work visas and offered safety from deportation.
Now, the Administration is ripping the rug from under these Dreamers, after they’ve been invited to emerge from the shadows where they’ve been forced to hide. Not only is this unfair, it is unjust. Already, in June, DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) was rescinded, leaving both children and parents vulnerable. These moves are sinister, cruel, and immoral.
With the U.S. Gulf Coast just beginning to recover from Hurricane Harvey; Caribbean islands reeling from Hurricane Irma; and Hurricanes Jose and Katia looming, we are facing natural and human-made catastrophes on epic proportions. Flooding in Bangladesh and Sierra Leone has caused devastation abroad, as we face horrors at home.
Last Sunday, GLIDE collected nearly $4,000 in special offerings to support recovery from Hurricane Harvey (in addition to our weekly offerings to support the mission of GLIDE). In the days to come we will do even more: we’ll assemble disaster recovery kits that we’ll send to flood zones to assist in the healing efforts.
There’s much that we can do on the immigration front, as well. The advocacy agency of the United Methodist Church– the General Board of Church and Society, which is located on Capitol Hill, directly across from the Supreme Court – has issued this important call. We commend it to GLIDE:
- ADVOCATE.Call on your members of Congress to pass the DREAM Act, bipartisan legislation that protects DACA recipients and provides a pathway to citizenship.
The DREAM Act has been considered by Congress since 2001 and was reintroduced this year by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The DREAM Act is the best legislation to protect the DACA community. It needs to pass by March of 2018.Call your representative first at 1-888-496-3502
Then call your senators at 1-888-410-0619 (Be sure to call twice!)
And then send a letter to each member here!
Since 2012, The United Methodist Church has supported the DREAM Act – see resolution #3164.
- ORGANIZE. Just as important as advocating to those with power is standing with those without. Faith communities are uniquely positioned to aid impacted communities and to call for moral leadership. The United Methodist Immigration Task Force released a Call to Action on DACA for United Methodist churches in the US, listing concrete steps United Methodist churches should take in the face of this decision. In addition to addressing the spiritual, mentaland emotional assault this decision represents, the immigrant and DACA community will need concrete, tangible resources as their financial livelihoods become uncertain. Utilize resources in your church and annual conference, engage your district superintendents and bishops, and partner with other congregations to support DACA recipients and immigrants in your community.
- WRITE. Write to the editor in your local paper, your members of Congress, Attorney General Jeff Session, and the President. Write also to leaders in your local community-business owners, schools, faith communities, and others. Ask them to take a stand for immigrant youth. Share your story. If local leaders have already taken a stand, reach out to see how you can work together.
- SPEAK.Speak to your family, surrounding community, and circle of influence. If you are a pastor or faith leader, speak to your congregation. Speak to those directly affected by this decision in your community, and form relationships between impacted communities and others.
- SEEK ASSISTANCE.If you are a DACA recipient, get accurate and up-to-date information from sources such as We Are Here to Stay and United We Dream. Though March 2018 marks the point at which the 6-month period for DACAends, DACA protection may end sooner, as it must be renewed on an individual basis. Persons whose DACArenewal is up before March 2018 may apply for a renewal by October 5, 2017.
Beloved, at GLIDE we cherish the power of unconditional love to transform the world. During these cruel days, let us lead with compassion. And let us continue to unite to care for those who remain most at risk.
In Love and Power,
Rev. Jay Williams, Ph.D.
Rev. Theon Johnson, III
Rev. Angela Brown, J.D.
P.S. In case you’re wondering what the Scriptures say about immigration, check out this wonderful video from The Riverside Church in New York City. (This is the place that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” sermon.)