Dishonoring the Promise of DACA
I often think of God’s words in the Bible (Matthew 25): “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least (‘least’ here meaning ‘most vulnerable’) of these sisters and brothers of mine, you did for me.”
As someone who considers all of us sisters and brothers in faith (whatever faith in which each of us chooses to seek a positive relationship with God), I’m dismayed by the lack of humanity shown in the past few years—especially recently—regarding DACA.
The news this week includes advice from many for DREAMers to be prepared “if the worst does happen”. The worst.
And yet–97% of the nearly 800,000 DREAMers have jobs and/or are in school. AND—93% of DREAMers over age 25 work (Center for American Progress).
And yet–consider the 2+ billion dollars DREAMers pay in federal and state taxes annually (CNN). Then there’s the comparison of DREAMers who work compared to those US-born who take advantage of government help. (No disrespect to the many who NEED this help.)
I could go on and on about the stats and the arguments. Essentially: Seeking asylum is a human right. Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) proclaims in its first paragraph: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution” (Oxford Academic).
IT IS DISHONORABLE for one president to break the promise of another president. Many remember Barack Obama’s remarks made on June 15, 2012 regarding his decision. Among his remarks, he put a special emphasis on the consideration of children who have been raised in this country after being brought here as infants: “Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life—studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class—only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.”
I also think a lot about undocumented sisters and brothers in our nation who have even less hope of becoming “legal” and a question posed by Jose Antonio Vargas: How do YOU define “American”?
Another question Vargas posed that keeps me up nights: “What did YOU do to deserve the title “American”? For me, there’s no answer that explains why I have this privilege and not several of my former students. Honorable, kind, assiduous students.
So I plug away at staying informed. I remain prayerful that one day the stories of many in my chosen family will be published & add to the stories already “out there” in the world. Their stories have a greater chance of making a difference than my voice.
Still. All I have right now is my voice and my vote; I must exercise them both and serve God as best I can.
Image by artist Fredric Ndayirukiye