Interfaith Leaders to President Trump and Congress: “Support Dreamers, Keep DACA in Place”
Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Leaders Issue Joint Statement in Support of “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” Program
Washington, D.C.—In response to growing concerns about President Trump’s consideration of discontinuing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, archbishop of Washington; the Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, senior rabbi of Washington Hebrew Congregation; and Imam Talib M. Shareef of Masjid Muhammad, The Nation’s Mosque, have published the following open letter to President Trump and Congressional leaders.
Dear Mr. President and Congressional Leaders:
As leaders of the three Abrahamic faiths, we look to our sacred texts and traditions in seeking to follow the way of peace. Our respective teachings are clear, and we speak with one voice when we say: supporting the dreams of young immigrants in the United States is consistent with the foundational values of our nation, and with the moral imperative of extending hospitality to the stranger, of caring for immigrants and children, and of loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Nearly one million young immigrants have benefitted from the DACA program since its inception in 2012. Among that number, many of the program recipients are members of our respective faith communities, as well as the communities we mentor, in and around the nation’s capital. We have witnessed firsthand the relief and pride in our young people’s faces as they finally came to feel validated and safe by participating in a program that made them feel more at home—in the only country they have ever considered home. But now, anxiety and fear for their futures has returned.
We note that DACA has widespread support across the country and among politicians who agree on little else, for good reason. DACA has dramatically improved the lives of these young people and the communities in which they live:
- 95% of DACA participants are working or attending school;
- 68% of those working have seen their pay increase and thus are paying higher taxes;
- 50% now have driver’s licenses, which makes the roads safer for everyone;
- 54% have purchased their first car; and
- 12% have purchased their first home.
Rescinding DACA would have widespread, devastating impact not only on a generation of industrious young people, but also on their families, communities, and our society as a whole. Thus we add our voices to those urging you, Mr. President, to keep this policy in place until Congress puts in place a permanent solution.
It is our collective prayer that in the coming months, Congressional leaders work together to pass sensible and comprehensive immigration reform that our country so desperately needs, including making the DACA program permanent. But until that time comes, the least that our country can do is to continue supporting our dreamers. Keep DACA in place, Mr. President.
The Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig
Senior Rabbi of Washington Hebrew Congregation
Imam Talib M. Shareef
Masjid Muhammad, The Nation’s Mosque
His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington