Leaders of several Baptist organizations are asking constituents to call, email or write members of Congress March 1 demanding legal protection for undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children.
The Baptist Center for Ethics announced the Baptists4Dreamers call-in day — an initiative inspired by a similar campaign initiated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — on Feb. 26.
Fourteen Baptist leaders joined as sponsoring signatories of a statement calling on Congress to pass a DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act not tied to immigration enforcement efforts such as funding for a border wall.
“We are encouraging all Baptists from around the United States to call their senators and their representatives on March 1 to demand that Congress vote on a clean DREAM Act bill this session,” Mitch Randall, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, said in a video message on EthicsDaily.com.
The DREAM Act of 2017 would grant permanent legal status to immigrants granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, an Obama administration policy protecting hundreds of thousands of young people living in the U.S. from threat of deportation.
The Trump administration announced last September plans to phase out the program, giving Congress six months to come up with a permanent legislative fix. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the White House’s plan to shut down the program on March 5, granting a temporary reprieve to roughly 700,000 DACA recipients.
“We need to keep these Dreamers, these incredible people, in our country,” Randall said. “They are wonderful men and women who were brought here by their families and have grown up in the United States. As Baptists, we are champions, standing beside them, to demand that they have rights as well.”
An accompanying joint statement signed by Baptist leaders called on Congress to pass legislation allowing Dreamers “to remain in the United States, protecting them from deportation and providing them a pathway to citizenship.”
“Baptists have a deep-seated faith and conviction that compels us to advocate for the powerless and marginalized,” the Baptist leaders said. “Following the teachings of Jesus Christ, Baptists champion the human rights of all people as to where divine justice may be sought after and enacted on behalf of the ostracized.”
Sponsoring signatories include top officials of the Baptist World Alliance, Alliance of Baptists, Baptist Women in Ministry, American Baptist Home Mission Societies, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America ~ Bautistas por la Paz, New Baptist Covenant, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, American Baptist Churches USA and National Baptist Convention of America, International.