In April of 2017, CBF Advocacy established its first-ever Advocacy Action Team to educate, encourage and equip individuals and groups for effective advocacy with immigrant and refugee communities. The Advocacy Action Team for Immigrants and Refugees seeks to cultivate a network of active advocates, provide useful up-to-date resources, and encourage direct policy advocacy at critical moments. This is one such critical moment.
Team members expressed disappointment in the decision to wind down the DACA program but are also hopeful that Congress will act to provide a more permanent solution and that CBF churches can be a positive force in those efforts.
“Ending DACA is wrong. But our congregations must step up in support of those with DACA status. They are not strangers; they are not foreigners; they are familia. Not only is there a space on our pews and at the Lord’s table, but there is space in our houses. If we are the Church, then they are familia. We will take care of them, comfort them and walk together with them in the struggle for their inalienable rights.” Ruben Ortiz, CBF Latino Field Coordinator
“When DACA was announced, DREAMers felt like they finally had a chance to create a stable life and live into a hopeful future. To me, hope and a future is what our God and the Gospel is all about. We’ve seen God work in the lives of DACA holders who believe they have something to live for and that someone really cares. As a follower of Jesus and as CBF field personnel, I am committed to struggling with these Dreamers to ensure that the future they began creating under DACA continues well into God’s future.” Greg Smith, LUCHA Ministries, CBF Field Personnel.
“The same Spirit that anointed Jesus to proclaim Good News also commissioned Jesus to set the oppressed free. Today, the same Spirit anoints and compels the Church to proclaim good news AND to advocate for DREAMers. May we be led by the Spirit’s anointing to speak up for our young immigrant neighbors who face the fear of being ripped away from the only country they have known as a home.” Anyra Cano, CBF Advocacy Outreach Specialist and Youth Minister at Iglesia Bautista Victoria en Cristo
“For many CBF ministries and churches, the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is not about an “issue,” but about people they love and minister alongside.” Advocacy Action Team member Sue Smith, of LUCHA Ministries, a CBF Field Personnel, shared some of the stories of her friends in a recent article at Patheos.
Blake Hart, Missions Coordinator for CBF of South Carolina added, “Young adults protected by DACA have contributed so much to CBF churches, more than many of us know. Through DACA they were able to come out from the shadows, and live without the constant fear of being deported to a country they do not remember. Jesus tells us to welcome the stranger, and these young adults aren’t even strangers. They’re our friends, coworkers, students, and brothers and sisters. That’s why it is so important now for CBF churches to speak out, encouraging congress to pass a clean bill that protects them from deportation and gives them a pathway to citizenship.”
Fundamentally, CBF Advocacy is rooted in the same goals that motivate our mission endeavors: bearing witness to Jesus Christ, seeking transformational development and cultivating beloved community. The command to love our neighbor rings clear in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Leviticus 19:34 states, “Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God” (CEB). Luke 4:18-19 states, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (CEB). On the issue of welcoming immigrants, and providing hospitality to strangers, the biblical narrative is clear.
Here are some basic facts about DACA and the implications of rescinding DACA:
- DACA permits approximately 800,000 eligible young adults to work lawfully, attend school and plan their lives by removing the threat of deportation.
- DACA does not provide a permanent legal status, nor does it provide a path to citizenship; recipients are required to renew their status every two years.
- To be eligible for DACA status, one must:
- have been brought to the US before the age of 16 and before June 15, 2012
- be under the age of 31 before June 15, 2012
- have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007 up to the present
- have been physically present in the US on June 15, 2012
- have had no lawful status on June 15, 2012
- be currently enrolled in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school; have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate; or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
- As of March 6, 2018, DACA recipients will begin losing protection from deportation and lose their ability to legally work.
- After October 5, 2017, DACA recipients will no longer be allowed to renew their status.
- An average of 30,000 DACA recipients will lose their ability to work each month, with a loss of 7,234 jobs each week, and a loss of 1,400 jobs each day.
- Removing DACA recipients from the workforce will result in a $460.3 billion GDP loss over a decade.
For more information on the DREAM Act of 2017, click here. For more information about DREAMers and DACA, click here. To learn about common myths and misinformation about DACA and DREAMers, click here.
Click here to look up your elected officials and find out how to contact them. Write, call or visit and offer Christian’s story as a prime example of the impact that rescinding DACA will have on members of our communities, schools, and congregations. Present your support for the DREAM Act as a permanent solution to this moral crisis.