Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion that – for the moment, at least – keeps Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) alive.
While the decision was consistent with what World Relief has advocated for many years, I confess that to me, it came as a very happy surprise. I had been dreading a negative decision, which would have meant that more than 600,000 young people would have been poised to lose their work authorization (and, thus, their jobs) and be at risk of deportation. For many of my friends, colleagues and fellow church members whose livelihoods and way of life depend upon DACA – and for many others who know and love those directly affected – the decision is an incredible relief.
The risk of such an encouraging decision, though, is that we run the risk of moving on too quickly.
The Supreme Court decision, while positive, is not a permanent solution. In fact, the Court affirmed the administration’s authority (this one or a future one) to terminate DACA so long as they follow the proper procedure (which, in this case, the Court found the administration did not follow proper procedure). The only durable solution for Dreamers, and the only way they could become U.S. citizens is for Congress to pass legislation such as the Dream Act or something similar.
The reality is that there is still much to do to continue standing with Dreamers. Listed below are five ways you can stand with Dreamers today.
- Get Informed. We’ve prepared a simple DACA and Dream Act 101 explainer that describes what DACA is, what the Dream Act would mean if passed and what the most recent Court decision means. We also encourage you to check out (and share) the website of our partners at Voices of Christian Dreamers, which includes a collection of first-person stories from Dreamers.
- Give. World Relief and other non-profit immigration legal service providers provide competent, authorized legal guidance and assistance in applying for or renewing DACA (as well as applying for various other immigration legal benefits) and charge only nominal fees. But we can only sustain these ministries with support from individuals like you. Give here to help sustain and grow our immigration legal services network.
- Pray. For many of us, the Supreme Court’s decision came as a surprise – so much so that I’m convinced there was some divine intervention. Millions of people were praying for this outcome, but few Court-observers predicted this result based on the oral arguments for the case. Now is the time to continue praying for Dreamers. This guide from the Evangelical Immigration Table and Voices of Christian Dreamers is a great resource to help you as you pray.
- Advocate. Until a law, such as the Dream Act, is passed into law, there is still a great risk that the administration could try to terminate DACA again. It’s important to let our congressional representatives know that this decision does not mean their job is over. It’s a temporary reprieve, and now, we need them to act by passing legislation. A simple way to urge them to do so is to add your name to this letter to Members of Congress signed by various Christian leaders.
- Direct. If you know any individuals who have DACA, or who think they might now qualify for DACA, it’s really important that they access competent, authorized legal practitioners who can help verify their eligibility. Unfortunately, there are always individuals who are not authorized or adequately trained to give legal advice who prey on those desperate for good news by offering too-good-to-be-true promises of legal status or work authorization in exchange for obscene amounts of money. To be sure you’re getting accurate, authorized advice, we recommend consulting with an attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association or with a non-profit organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice – including most World Relief offices and many partner churches to whom World Relief provides technical legal support.
Matthew Soerens serves as the U.S. Director of Church Mobilization for World Relief. He previously served as the Field Director for the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of evangelical organizations of which World Relief is a founding member. He is the co-author of Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis (Moody Publishers, 2016) and Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration
Debate (InterVarsity Press, 2009). Matthew is a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and DePaul University. He lives in Aurora, Illinois with his wife Diana and their two children.