Presiding Bishop, House of Deputies president on DACA

Posted Sep 5, 2017

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings have issued the following statement concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Today our hearts are with those known as the Dreamers—those young women and men who were brought to this country as children, who were raised here and whose primary cultural and country identity is American. We believe that these young people are children of God and deserve a chance to live full lives, free from fear of deportation to countries that they may have never known and whose languages they may not speak. As people of faith, our obligation is first to the most vulnerable, especially to children. In this moment, we are called by God to protect Dreamers from being punished for something they had no agency in doing.

Since 2012, individuals who are undocumented and who were brought to the U.S. as children have benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Through this program, those eligible have the opportunity to obtain a work permit and can secure protection from deportation. The nearly 800,000 recipients of DACA have proven that when given the opportunity, they succeed and contribute positively to our country. Without protection afforded by DACA or a legislative solution, these young people will live in fear of arrest, detention, and deportation to countries they may not remember. In six months those fears may become reality, so we must use that time wisely to advocate for their protection.

The Episcopal Church supports these undocumented youth as part of our decades-long commitment to walking with immigrants and refugees. Out of that commitment, we call on our nation to live up to its highest ideals and most deeply held values, and we call on Congress to take action to protect these young people and to formulate a comprehensive immigration policy that is moral and consistent and that allows immigrants who want to contribute to this country the chance to do so while keeping our borders secure from those whose business is in drugs, human trafficking or terror. We are committed to working actively toward both the passage of a bipartisan Dream Act by Congress and comprehensive immigration reform, and we will provide resources for Episcopalians who want to participate in this work.

For those of us who follow Jesus Christ, our Christian values are at stake. Humane and loving care for the stranger, the alien, and the foreigner is considered a sacred duty and moral value for those who would follow the way of God. In his parable of the last judgment, Jesus commended those who welcomed the stranger and condemned those who did not (Matthew 25:35 & 25:43). This teaching of Jesus was based on the law of Moses that tells the people of God: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-35).

We stand with the Dreamers and will do all that we can to support them while we also work for the kind of immigration reform that truly reflects the best of our spiritual and moral values as people of faith and as citizens of the United States.

-The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate, and The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies


Comments (13)

  1. Richard Basta says:

    A legislative solution is the preferred methodology to solve this, as DACA was clearly an overreach of executive authority. There will be a solution that recognizes our national sovereignty and provides for accountability for law breakers but still rewards those who are innocent.

    1. Mike Hungerford says:

      NOT so “clear” in my book. The President can certainly set enforcement priorities, and DACA can best be seen as a determination that these youth should be a very low priority.

  2. Fr. Carlton Kelley says:

    While a legislative solution may be the preferred one, the suffering of human beings often does not wait upon the will of our partisan legislatures driven by special interest. The comment about national sovereignty and law breakers have no relevance.

  3. Doug Desper says:

    The children of DACA need to be protected and should have every consideration in that they were born here under circumstances not of their making. Notwithstanding, their status should never have been valorized by the dictate of an Executive Order. We have a Constitution that states that laws begin in the Legislature whether commentators like it or have confidence in it. Now, there is a wide window for the Congress to fix what should have never been invented. With respect to Fr. Kelley, our national sovereignty and law do have extreme relevance. Americans have had enough of the loud shout-downs at town halls, the mask-ridden mob rule in our streets, and pressure tactics by bought and paid for agitators. The suffering of human beings is not assuaged one moment by these daily ANTIFA and anarchist tantrums and the vilification of our laws and lawmakers. We cannot turn into Europe with its unchecked immigration, “no-go Sharia zones”, and live under drastic spikes in crime as seen in the cultural insensitivities fueling many crises around Europe. We have hundreds of thousands of native-born Americans who are suffering in want and not receiving adequate national benefits and until we take care of these then immigration should get secondary consideration. Emigrate to Mexico, and many countries in Central America. Emigrate to Europe, or even Canada and you will see similar – and far tougher – laws than ours. DACA was a political stunt — and now its time for the adults to enter the room and tend to national well-being of which immigration is just one facet.

  4. The Very Rev. William F. Maxwell says:

    I cannot imagine the kind of thinking that worries about these young people providing cover for terrorists or other enemies of our country. My grandparents were all immigrants, arriving in America without the slightest vetting or with the slightest suggestion that they came to destroy this country. They were all poor, all hopeful, bringing with them large families who together became citizens and many of whom served gladly in the Armed Forces. The United States is a better, stronger country as the result. As Christians it behooves us to join the welcome, thanking God for all the gifts these immigrants brought with them. The DACA young people have shown their desire to join us in this wonderful, developing, welcloming society. They are an example of hope, and the few bad apples can be dealt with according to the civilized laws already in place. Congress can help, certainly, but Christian folk need not wait to open arms and hearts.

    1. Doug Desper says:

      Memory serves that a few years ago the drug cartels at our southern border flooded untold numbers of unaccompanied children to our border to overwhelm our security. It took resources and attention away from their illegal activities. The DACA children and children used as pawns by cartels deserve every consideration and aid but let’s stop thinking that the world hasn’t changed in the last 75 years.

  5. Donald Heacock says:

    President Trump’s decision to end the Executive Order was far the more compassionate. To leave the Dreamer’s to highly likely decision that over turns the Executive Order is to open them to immediate deportation. Now Congress has time to fix the Dreamer’s problem.

    1. Neal Matsunaga says:

      I think the President had a much more compassionate path than the one he took. He could have chosen to gather the leaders of the House and Senate and work with them to craft a legislative replacement for DACA. If I were cynical I would think he knows that the legislature is unlikely to be able to work for the good of the country and come up with a replacement for DACA so if they don’t the legislature will look bad instead of the President. He has also played to his base by doing the most conservative decision, i.e. just cancel DACA and tell the legislature it is their problem.

  6. Brianne Willard says:

    My heart is breaking. My people came to this country with no papers, killed the people who lived here, enslaved some others, ran a few sweatshops and generally took what they could. I have spent my life working to make this a different kind of country, one that cares for its sick and sees all people as equal. My Dreamer friends are wonderful people, kind and loving. A country with our history could really use a lot more like them.

  7. John D Poynter says:

    If as we have thought, the arc of hostory always bends toward justice, the Obama, who acted because Congress has not been able to order a rational immigration policy, then he obeyed a Christian promise in the baptismal rite; now, the fraudulent kook in the oval office bends the arc backwards, according to his lack of character, asserts his power as a dictator. 1933 anyone?

  8. Frances E. Blair says:

    With God’s help, I will do everything in my power to help the 800,00+ DACA participants stay in this, their only, country.

  9. Jodi Creten says:

    If Congress had done its job during the Obama administration, President Obama would not have had to make the decision on DACA. It was the right decision because of a
    dysfunctional Congress.

  10. The USA is a country of laws as established by the Constitution. Persons, regardless of age or other condition, who did not choose to enter the country legally or have over stayed Visas are in fact here in violation of immigration law. It is the President’s job to enforce law, not make law. If DACA status is to be changed, it must be done by Congress. Talk to them —- not to the President. He is properly doing his job. Obama chose to act like a dictator or king, not as a President.

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