DREAM Act Draws Bipartisan Support around the Country

Communications Associate

July 21, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thursday’s introduction of the bipartisan DREAM Act has elicited positive responses from faith, business and law enforcement leaders across the country.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and Charles Schumer (D-New York), would allow certain immigrants who were brought to the United States without authorization as children to earn legalized status and eventual citizenship.

Provisions in the bill would apply to Dreamers if they graduate from high school or earn a GED; pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years or serve in the military; pass background checks; and demonstrate proficiency in English and a knowledge of U.S. history.

Recent videos and an op-ed highlight the contributions of Dreamers in Graham’s home state of South Carolina, as well as North Carolina. Evangelical leaders also recently have spoken out in support of legislative solutions to protect Dreamers.

“Local leaders’ resolve to protect Dreamers offers a snapshot of the deep support for the DREAM Act,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Even a majority of Trump voters support a way for Dreamers to earn legal status. The DREAM Act is a bipartisan solution that would benefit all Americans.”

The following are quotes from local leaders:

Alabama

Lisa Rose, Director of Compassion Ministries, Montgomery Baptist Association:
“Why should we support this act? Because it is the right thing to do. Because, as a follower of Christ, I am compelled to walk beside those in need. Because, if I were in their shoes, I would hope someone would advocate on my behalf when I couldn’t. This is also a practical and cost-effective plan.”

C. Franklin Snowden III, The Snowden Law Offices, P.C., Montgomery:
“In my experience, Dreamers are some of the most courageous, enduring, honest and hard-working people in the United States. I’ve tried to consider and comprehend what it would have been like if the roles were reversed and I, or my children, migrated to a foreign country as a child, and I truly think it’s beyond my imagination. I cannot think of a single reason why we would not to want to include Dreamers as legal citizens of our country that was, in fact, founded by people who were also courageous, enduring, honest and hard-working. We could all learn a lot about perseverance from them. Providing a statutory DACA opportunity is very simply the right thing to do.”

California

Daniel Dominguez, Director of Multicultural Ministries, Fresno Pacific University, Fresno:
“Dreamers not only dream dreams, they live them. As the Director of Multicultural Ministries at Fresno Pacific University, I have the privilege of walking alongside 30 students through their collegiate experience. These 30 students are all recipients of deferred action and are making the most of their opportunity by transitioning their once-upon-a-time dream of a higher education into a reality they now walk in. These 30 students are our FPU Samaritan Scholars; these 30 students are our dreams in action.”

Gerardo Magana, Associate Pastor, Emmaus Church, Santa Ana:
“As man of faith and local pastor, working on behalf of Dreamers is central to my heart and mission. Acting on bipartisan reform that makes allowances and provisions to Dreamers is of utmost importance and critical in giving so many the gift of continuing to live outside of the shadows and be a part of our communities.”

Colorado

Patty Pell, Director of Justice and Mission, Denver Seminary:
“When we invest in the education and development of Dreamers, we are enacting biblical characteristics of compassion, justice and equity. We provide a pathway for young people to participate in the community and to contribute their gifts, skills, wisdom and passion to our society, which enriches us all. Embracing young people and inviting them to share all they have to offer is an expression of the radical inclusive nature of the Gospel.”

Florida

Wendy Kallergis, President and CEO, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association:
“We in the South Florida hospitality industry know what it means to have our workforce bolstered by the thriving foreign-born population that lives and works in our region. We would be very troubled to see legal immigration channels, such as DACA, eliminated. We urge Congress to find a permanent solution that supports immigrant workers and strengthens the economy.”

Iowa

Mark Prosser, Public Safety Director, Storm Lake:
“The DREAM Act is a great beginning at compromise in the direction of much needed reasonable immigration reform.”

North Carolina

Maudia Melendez, Executive Director, Jesus Ministries, Charlotte:
“I consider DACA children as a group of true Americans that have grown up loving God, loving their family and loving the country where they were raised, the United States of America.”

Oklahoma

Dr. John-Mark Hart, Pastor, Christ Community Church, Oklahoma City:
“As a pastor in south Oklahoma City, I’ve had the privilege to know many wonderful young people who were brought across the United States border without documentation when they were small children. America is the only home that they know, and they have not committed any crime. Nonetheless, our broken immigration system still leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and puts limits on their dreams by denying them any pathway to permanent legal status in this country. It would be immoral to punish these people for a crime they didn’t commit or to leave them in their vulnerable situation. Creating pathways to permanent legal status for these hardworking, creative, law-abiding residents is the right thing to do, and it will make our communities stronger.”

South Carolina

Blake Hart, Missions Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina, Rock Hill:
“The more Dreamers I meet, the more I realize how much our country has gained from their presence. I hope that we will not turn our backs on them now, but that instead, we will give them and their families the welcome they deserve.”

Dr. Tom Legrand, Pastor of Daybreak Community Church, Greenville:
“Empowering the most vulnerable is our moral and ethical calling. Making the DREAM Act the law of the land exclaims the best of who we are and what we do. It is a statement of both American values and Godly principles.”

Tennessee

Micah Fries, Senior Pastor, Brainerd Baptist Church, Chattanooga:
“As a gospel-shaped people, we believe that God has given us a unique responsibility to extend care to the most vulnerable among us. None are more vulnerable than children. This act uses political measures to provide opportunities for children who are created in God’s image and who have called America home for the majority of their lives. I am deeply thankful for and supportive of Senators Graham and Durbin and their efforts for these children.”

Texas

Dr. Steve Branson, Senior Pastor, Parkland Village Baptist Church, San Antonio:
“Dreamers were brought here as children. Squandering their talents and contributions to a better America by deporting them to countries they barely remember or have never known makes no sense. Support the DREAM Act.”

Dr. David Galvan, Lead Pastor, New Life Baptist Church, Dallas:
“Dreamers help make America great. They’re giving back to their communities and driving economic growth. It is unconscionable to hold these kids accountable for the actions of another. The Texas congressional delegation needs to lead passage.”

Abraham Perez, President, Austin Latin Ministries Alliance:
“DACA es una solución temporal. El Congreso debe cumplir nuestra responsabilidad de reformar el sistema migratorio.”

Ruby Powers, Immigration Attorney, Houston:
“Allowing a path for legal permanent residency and eventual citizenship for Dreamers is a step in the right direction for immigration reform. It will benefit our communities, local businesses and the future of young American children.”

Marivel Reyes, Pastor Principal, El Shaddai Austin:
“Es el deber del Congreso encontrarle un camino a la ciudadanía a los 11 millones de inmigrantes. El Dream Act es un primer paso.”

Graciela Saenz, Transactional and Government Relations Attorney, Houston:
“Dreamers can be a benefit to this country through good legislation that will allow them to become responsible, income-producing members of our communities. Legislation that will lay out a plan to facilitate this opportunity is what our nation is all about.

“While we are a nation of laws, ‘we the people of the United States’ make the laws to conform to our beliefs and values. As a nation whose past and future in many ways will always be intertwined with immigrants coming to this nation, the need to address the most vulnerable of our immigrant population through the DREAM Act is definitely in line with those beliefs and values. The compassion of allowing a way to legalize the status of these children is what our nation should be known for. I support the efforts of Senators Graham and Durbin to introduce a bipartisan bill in the form of the DREAM Act and thank them for showing the courage to work together to address this lingering issue that affects so many.”

West Virginia

Dr. Joel Rainey, Lead Pastor, Covenant Church, Shepherdstown:
“Laws and their enforcement are important — so important that if those laws unjustly victimize people Jesus died to save, they should be changed. God’s own justice demands this on behalf of more than 750,000 young people — people who have lived here since childhood and are now threatened with removal from the only home they have ever known. Our current immigration system has created these victims. It is our system rather than these young people who are criminal, and we now have an opportunity to do something to change that. May God grant us the will to reflect His justice in the compassion we show to the least of these.”

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