A Cooperative Baptist Fellowship leader urged Congress to pass a law extending protection to undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children in a telephonic press conference Feb. 1.
“CBF is an organization that is committed to missions,” Anyra Cano, advocacy outreach specialist with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Texas, said in the press conference organized by Faith in Public Life. “Part of this commitment to missions includes advocacy for our immigrant and refugee communities.”
Cano, youth minister at Iglesia Bautista Victoria en Cristo (Victory in Christ Baptist Church) in Fort Worth, Texas, said CBF advocacy “flows from the love of our neighbor.”
She said that includes those who are “Dreamers,” people protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama era program scrapped by President Donald Trump.
Cano and other clergy on the call urged Congress to pass a “clean” Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, not tied to funding for a border wall.
As a youth minister, Cano said, she has many dreamers in her church.
“It is inconceivable that in our Sunday school classes, we have children praying and crying to their teachers asking them to ask God not to have their parents deported,” she said. “It is cruel to have children ask for those kinds of prayer requests.”
CBF’s advocacy and action team on immigration and refugees recently collected signatures on a letter to U.S. senators urging support for a DREAM Act to provide a permanent solution for 122 young immigrants who are losing their DACA status each day.
CBF leaders are asking congregations to set aside part of their worship services Feb. 4 to pray for Dreamers and to lobby Congress to support the DREAM Act, with federal funding scheduled to expire Feb. 8.
“It is important for us as Christian leaders, as people of faith, to recognize that dreamers are our neighbors. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves,” Cano said. “This is the reason why the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and myself are calling faith leaders, and especially calling on Congress, to pass a clean DREAM Act now.”
“Dreamers are ministers,” she said. “Some are pastors. Dreamers are our neighbors. They are part of our DNA as a nation.”