Rev. Jack Johnson
Interim Chair, Conference Board of Church and Society
and Retired District Superintendent of the Capital District
“The stranger who resides among you shall be to you as one of your citizens. You
shall love him as yourself, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.”
With a deadline of March 5
, Congress will be debating proposed legislation for a program known as DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program has provided immigration status for young people called “Dreamers” brought to the U.S. by their parents at an early age. The young people, who have been protected from deportation by DACA, attend our churches, schools, serve in our military, and make significant contributions to our economy. Their hopes and dreams are no different from the children who are born here, and there is no legitimate reason for inflicting this needless suffering on these young people. Their only crime, if you even call it that, was that they lovingly and obediently accompanied their parents in pursuit of a dream and an opportunity.
Our United Methodist Church at its General Conference in 2012 passed a resolution in support of dreamers (#316.4 Book of Resolutions). At this past year’s Annual Conference, Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of the Board of Church and Society, in her keynote address “Ministry with Immigrants and Refugee Communities” set the tone and direction for our newly created conference immigration task force. The task force has been engaged in reaching out to congregations throughout GNJ in an effort to encourage them to ask members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation to be supportive of the Dream Act.
Now is the time we encourage you to act! We ask that you reach out to your elected congressional representative asking for their support of DACA legislation. I believe the plan to phase out the DACA program is a clear violation of our faith principles of hospitality, compassion, and justice. We are called to welcome the Dreamer. I encourage you today to reach out to your congressional representative, call upon members of your congregation to pray and advocate for the dreamer, and to uphold the God-given dignity of every person. Let us exemplify our best ideals and beliefs as persons of faith.
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