On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the current administration would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that protects from deportation 800,000 immigrant youth who were brought to the country as children. The immigrant community had been anticipating a response from President Trump for months, but on Tuesday Sessions delivered the announcement adding:
“The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other things, contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens … As the attorney general, it is my duty to ensure that the laws of the United States are enforced and that the Constitutional order is upheld.”
As a response to this administration’s racist and xenophobic decision, hundreds of immigrant youth, faith leaders, and allies marched through the streets of Washington, D.C., and held a rally outside the White House. Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director at United We Dream and current DACA recipient told the crowd:
“I am undocumented, unafraid, and unashamed. If they think they’re going to find a scared and sad ‘Dreamer’ wanting to go back into the shadows … that is not going to happen … we will not be thrown back into the shadows … our people are resilient, our people are love, our people are strong.”
The crowd then chanted the words of poet June Jordan: “We have come too far, we won’t turn around, we’ll flood the streets with justice, we are freedom bound.”
Hundreds marched to Trump Tower, the Department of Justice, and the Capitol Building, denouncing the administration’s decision on DACA and pressuring Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which was introduced in both the House and the Senate and would provide immigrant youth with a legal pathway to citizenship.
While some members of Congress are bringing forth alternatives to this plan, we are calling on the people of faith to stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters and tell Congress to pass the DREAM Act — and we are inviting DACAmented youth to share your stories. We will be publishing these at Sojourners and sharing them with our members of Congress.
To our elected officials, we remind you of the words in Proverbs 3:27: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’— when you already have it with you. Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you. Do not accuse anyone for no reason— when they have done you no harm.”