Arizona has become infamous for its harsh treatment of immigrants, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the state is again in the news for trying to make the lives of young immigrants harder.
President Barack Obama recently announced a policy change that would let young people living in the U.S. without immigration status pursue an education and find meaningful work without fear of deportation. As communities continue to suffer the effects of the country’s broken immigration system and families live in fear of their loved ones being deported, this was news to celebrate and an answer to prayer.
Apparently Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, had a different reaction to the compassion and progress embodied by this new policy. On the day it went into effect, Brewer issued an executive order denying driver’s licenses to young people in Arizona qualifying for the relief being offered by the federal government.
Her action will make it difficult for people to attend classes or find a job. It hurts Arizona’s communities and weakens the state’s economy. It robs young immigrants of the hope they believed was being offered to them.
The faith community cannot be silent in the face of such despair. Gov. Brewer needs to hear from religious leaders disappointed in her actions in the hopes that such moral outrage might cause her to reverse course. That is why Sojourners is running a petition calling on the governor to retract her executive order. The petition’s message is clear and simple:
We believe every person, regardless of immigration status, is created in God's image. Your recent executive order denying driver's licenses and other benefits to undocumented young people who qualify for deferred action is harsh and short-sighted. As people of faith, we urge you to reconsider your position and retract this executive order so that all God's children in Arizona can contribute to your state's economy and strengthen its communities.
Please, add your voice to the growing chorus of faithful people speaking out on this issue. Later this week Sojourners will make sure your voice is heard by delivering this petition to Gov. Brewer.