DREAM Act Sabbath

MetroLatinoUSA

WASHINGTON, DC — Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and more than a dozen religious leaders representing a broad variety of faith traditions, today announced a DREAM Act Sabbath – an initiative enlisting churches, synagogues, and mosques around the country to dedicate time during their regular weekly worship service to a conversation about the DREAM Act. The nationwide event will talk place this fall on September 23rd, September 24th, and September 25th.

“For the last ten years I have been working on the DREAM Act, there has been one constant: strong support from the faith community,” Senator Durbin said. “The DREAM Act is based on a fundamental moral principle that is shared by all the faith traditions represented here today – it is wrong to punish children for the actions of their parents. This fall, congregations around the country will put their faith into action when they observe the DREAM Act Sabbath. They will put a human face on the plight of undocumented students and mobilize support to pass the DREAM Act.”

“Community efforts, including the unique perspective that can come from our faith communities, are essential to passing the DREAM Act,” Bennet said. “The struggle for these kids is guided by lessons from our history: we cannot give up, and we all stand on the shoulders of people who have come before us, who have fought for rights that seemed unimaginable at the time they were fighting for them. These kids only know America as their home, and we should provide them with the opportunity to go to college or serve our nation in the military.”

The DREAM Act is a narrowly tailored bill that would give undocumented students a chance to earn legal status if they came here as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and complete two years of college or military service in good standing. Introduced for the first time in 2001, the DREAM Act has been reported out of committee by a wide bipartisan majority, passed the House of Representatives, and received a bipartisan majority vote in the Senate, only to fall because of a filibuster. Today’s announcement will continue to build on the broad grassroots support for the DREAM Act,focusing particularly on faith communities.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, said: “These young persons, who are for all practical purposes Americans like all of us, love this country so much that they risk deportation in order to advocate to become American citizens. Why would we not want to embrace their dedication, energy, talents, and courage–characteristics that have made our nation great? It would be to our detriment to forsake them.”

Bishop Minerva Carcano of the Phoenix Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church said: “These young men and women are not strangers. They have grown up in our communities. They are making our country a better place now and for generations to come. Across faith traditions, children hold a very special place. Without DREAM, the well-being of children will be stunted and undermined. If our political leaders fail to support this, we fail to be faithful guardians of the children God placed in our care. But we will not fail. We will not fail because God is with us.”

Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said:”Christ himself admonished us to permit the little ones, the children, to come to him for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them. Without a doubt, Christ stood committed to the care and protection of the most vulnerable, especially children. To continue to punish these children is nothing less than anti-Christian, anti-American and morally reprehensible…. For at the end of the day this issue is after all about dreams. Not just the dream of innocent children but the American dream. How we treat the innocent, the children and the least amongst us speaks to the moral fiber of our nation. Let us save these dreams by passing the Dream Act. In doing so, we protect our values, our families, our communities and as a result we salvage the American Dream.”

Reverend Derrick Harkins, Senior Pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington said…

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