Local Leaders Target Congress Following DACA Rescission

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “As a pastor, I echo the profound disappointment and anger of Christians across America.”

“As a police chief of a small but diverse community, I see the end of DACA as destabilizing my community.”

“As an Air Force veteran and staunch Republican, national security is a priority issue for me. That’s why I strongly believe that we need the DACA community …”

“We need solutions for DACA recipients so that hundreds of thousands of young people can continue to bolster our businesses, the economy and our communities.”

These are just a few of the responses from faith, law enforcement, military veteran and New American Workforce leaders around the country in the wake of the Trump administration’s announcement Tuesday that it is rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Many are imploring Congress to seize an opportunity and provide a bipartisan solution.

Additional quotes follow from Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform and other leaders in 15 states. Tuesday’s statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, is available here.


(See also these recent statements from national and local evangelical leaders.)

Tony Burrell, Executive Director, Chicagoland Immigrant Welcome Network, Hammond, Indiana:
“I am discouraged by yesterday’s DACA decision, and the decision to put almost a million Dreamers in deportable situations. These are our friends, our co-workers, our family members.

“If there is one issue that needs non-negotiable bipartisan support right now, it is the immigration issue of keeping families together, and giving Dreamers the legal opportunities to continue making America their home. I say this as a Christian who believes that God is big enough to keep America great and still welcome immigrants. We are not a country of scarcity. We are a country of abundant blessing, and have the spiritual responsibility to share that blessing as our faith exhorts us to.”

Dave Jenkins, Pastor, Nations Chapel Christian Church, Glen Ellyn, Illinois:
“As I weigh troubling matters the greatest one is a nightmare. In a few months’ time, I could be pastoring multiple families literally being torn apart by the security mechanisms of the United States. Youthful adults could be forcibly relocated to countries where they have no memories, speak little of the language, have minimum cultural skills, few good relationships, and would be set up for poverty and exploitation.

“Thus now is the time to speak and act. I will write my Senators and Congressman. I will go to church. I will go to immigrant functions. I will listen to the wisdom of my people. I will work with others to mobilize so our voices are heard as clearly as possible. If asked by God and my community I will lead with faith and courage.”

Rev. Dr. Rich Noble, Washington Union Alliance Church, New Castle, Pennsylvania:
‘The announcement concerning DACA, and the reactions to this announcement, once again illustrates how broken our immigration system is. We need all parties who are part of the policy-making process to proceed with compassionate wisdom to find a viable solution that works for everyone involved.”

Dustin White, Pastor, Radial Church, Canton, Ohio:
“As a pastor, I echo the profound disappointment and anger of Christians across America in response to the Trump administration’s decision to rescind on DACA. This decision is both a failure to protect vulnerable children and an attack on the Christian faith. We are asking that both the Trump administration and Congress follow the Church’s witness of compassion, justice, and hospitality in legislation that welcomes the stranger and protects the vulnerable.”

Law Enforcement:

Retired Chief Chris Burbank, Salt Lake City:
“As a nation we are at our best when humanity drives our decision making. Unfortunately, rhetoric, xenophobia and fear overruled reason in the determination to end DACA. In my experience, derisive and exclusionary behavior has only served to increase crime and disorder. The open participation of all individuals in a community creates trust and ultimately safety. Today we are stepping backwards, losing the trust and cooperation of 800,000 members of our community.”

Retired Chief Fred Fletcher, Chattanooga, Tennessee:
“I am strenuously opposed — as a law enforcement leader and community member — to eliminating the protections and hope that DACA offers to young men and women who find themselves in a difficult and complicated situation, usually through no choice of their own.”

Retired Chief James Hawkins, Garden City, Kansas:
“I am truly disappointed that the administration has taken this approach, but hopefully Congress will view it from more logical perspective and develop a comprehensive plan to allow Dreamers to stay and achieve citizenship.”

Chief Sylvia Moir, Tempe, Arizona:
“DACA offers children protection from being held responsible for the actions of their parents. Urging Congress to pass laws that protect DACA recipients sends a clear signal that we recognize our responsibility to safeguard those children who did not choose where they live and encourages these Dreamers to pursue the best that our nation has to offer.”

Mark Prosser, Public Safety Director, Storm Lake, Iowa:
“I strongly encourage Congress to protect the young people the DACA program has helped. Time and again I’ve witnessed DACA recipients succeed in their endeavors and efforts and continually make our community a much better place to live, work and play.”

Chief Mike Tupper, Marshalltown, Iowa:
“As a police chief of a small but diverse community, I see the end of DACA as destabilizing my community. When Dreamers, and all immigrants, feel safe engaging with local police, we are all safer. DACA recipients are contributing members of our society and my community, and I urge Congress to take legislative action to protect their rights.”


Pam Campos-Palma, Executive Director of Common Defense and USAF/USAFR Veteran, Jersey City, New Jersey:
“The administration’s attack on DACA is deeply regressive and further proves that they have no interest in America’s security, values, or people. They are actively ignoring the historic and current bipartisan support for this vital program, which has opened a path of positive impact for our communities and country. DACA rightfully discerns undocumented youth as potential leaders and revokes draconian stigmas that stunt us as a people and country. The veterans, military families and supporters of Common Defense are firmly committed to our immigrant families, colleagues and peers and will fight against this reckless attack.”

Lt. Col. Carter Crewe, USAF Veteran, Oceanside, California:
“I am personally extremely disappointed in Trump’s actions and decisions regarding immigrant issues and especially the Dreamers. As a veteran, I am offended that Trump and many members of Congress have shown a lack of honor and courage by placing their re-elections ahead of doing the right thing in protecting those immigrants who are serving in our armed forces, studying to be good English-speaking American citizens, working and paying taxes in their communities and bringing in new vitality to our country.

“I am hopeful that the military will take action to fast track citizenship for those serving in uniform, honoring the recruiting promises made at enlistment. Any other action is intolerable. The DACA folks are Americans in every way and deserve to be a supported and respected part of our society.”

Gabrielle Hurlock, USAF Veteran, Middleton, Connecticut:
“The perspective that DACA is ‘unconstitutional’ further confirms the biased indiscretion toward not only the future of the American workforce, but also the diverse heritage of the American people. Eliminating DACA serves no purpose other than to create further division on behalf of the government to deny nonwhite groups any hope of opportunity through profit over purpose ideology. As a combat veteran and offspring of immigrant veterans, Congress must act upon the legislation that allows undocumented youth the opportunity to earn residency through military service.”

Raoul Lowery Contreras, USMC Veteran, Del Mar Heights, California:
“We must move beyond any thought of punishing sons and daughters for violations of their parents. No child of a year or two or three can commit a “crime,” by any legal standard, thus we must treat those who were brought here as children by a legal standard that does not punish. We must create a permanent standard to handle these unique young people who have never known any other country or culture.

“Why? Because we are Americans. We are the most unique nation in the world. To remain so, the president and Congress must fix this problem — now.

David Lucier, U.S. Army Special Forces Veteran, Tempe, Arizona:
“The discontinuation of the DACA program is short-sighted and wholly un-American. As a veteran of three wars, I and my fellow veterans have fought and died to keep our country free and prosperous. America needs talent and talent knows no boundaries. These young immigrants are a valuable source of talent that our country desperately needs.”

Jordan Morales, USAF Veteran, Lexington, South Carolina:
“As an Air Force veteran and staunch Republican, national security is a priority issue for me. That’s why I strongly believe that we need the DACA community looking to secure their place among us through military service, especially to fill critically staffed career fields that we desperately need to keep the homeland safe. The contributions that these people make through military service, as well as their economic and community contributions, are priceless.”

Rear Adm. James Partington, USN Veteran, Lincoln, Nebraska:
“I’ve had opportunities to meet with Nebraska DACA youth from across the state. They are educated in our schools and employed in a variety of professions and occupations. Their talents, energy, enthusiasm and support for their communities are an enormous asset for Nebraska and the United States.”

Capt. Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, USAF Veteran, Hayward, California:
“DACA recipients have servant hearts. They were grateful to receive the opportunity to be of service to the nation. Many have ambitions and innate curiosities that propelled them to pursue higher education. They’re in service to their communities. Many have voluntarily joined our armed forces and have served us all and risked their lives. They deserve immediate citizenship for having served honorably in uniform. These veterans deserve our gratitude, not uncertainty and stress. Who will we become as a nation if we turn our backs on these real Americans who have little to no memory of having lived anywhere else?”

New American Workforce:

Derrick Seaver, Executive Vice President, The Silicon Valley Organization:
“Not only is the rollback of DACA immoral, but it is also terrible for America’s competitive economic advantage. Our economic strength is our diversity; it is our greatest asset and our key difference maker. To put 800,000 Americans, whose sole ‘infraction’ was arriving here as children, on a path to deportation will upend a large portion of this key strength. Repealing DACA sends the message that America’s door to opportunity is slammed tighter, and that is not the message that Silicon Valley business leaders want our government to send to the world at a time when expanding opportunity is the key to long-term innovative success.”

Wendy Kallergis, CEO, Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association:
“The Miami hospitality and entertainment industry is well aware of the vast need for opportunities for legal immigration to ensure we are able to maintain a talented workforce to thrive. We need solutions for DACA recipients so that hundreds of thousands of young people can continue to bolster our businesses, the economy and our communities. We need Congress to act to create a permanent way for these individuals to continue to fill key roles in our operations.”

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