Cooperative Baptist Fellowship leaders urged Fellowship members to contact the White House expressing disappointment with the administration’s decision to phase out an Obama-era program granting temporary legal presence and employment authorization for immigrants brought to the United States as undocumented children.
President Trump announced Sept. 5 he would rescind President Obama’s 5-year-old executive order establishing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protecting an estimated 800,000 undocumented children and young adults living the U.S. who do not qualify for a green card because their entry into the country was unlawful.
Later that day CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter responded with a statement criticizing the president’s decision.
“This has been a trial program testing criteria that is given for a successful immigration program — speaking English, maintaining employment and contributing to the greater good of the United States,” Paynter said. “It has exceeded every criterion that we’ve ever looked at for successful immigration. The fact that President Trump won’t maintain it is a mistake.”
Joined by Stephen Reeves, associate coordinator of partnerships and advocacy for CBF, Paynter encouraged members of the 1,800-church denominational network to contact their representatives in Congress urging passage of the Dream Act, bipartisan legislation introduced in both the House and Senate that would protect DACA recipients from deportation and provide a path to legal status if they meet certain criteria.
Reeves urged CBF churches to continue their advocacy efforts on behalf of young immigrants.
“Right now, churches have the chance to demonstrate the love of Christ in tangible ways by stepping in with a message of hope and with vocal and visible support, advocating on their behalf,” Reeves said. “No child determines where they are born or where they move. DACA students have been working hard, getting an education and playing by the rules — doing exactly what we ask of all Americans.”
Trump tweeted Sept. 5 that Congress has six months to legalize DACA, and if they cannot, “I will revisit this issue.”
On Sept. 7 he returned to Twitter attempting to reassure undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children that nothing would happen to their status during the six-month window.