Religious leaders close ranks with DREAMers

Jose Antonio Vargas. Photo: NYIC

Faith leaders, joined by Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and founder of Define American, and other DREAMers, launched on September 15 a statewide initiative called, “New York State Congregations in solidarity with DREAMers.”

The activity is part of a national DREAM Sabbath initiative spearheaded by Senator Richard Durbin in order to increase support for the DREAM Act. Across the country, religious leaders will be holding DREAM Sabbath services. To date, 10 DREAM Solidarity events have been scheduled across the state of New York and 200 have been scheduled across the country.

“A recent policy change by the White House might offer some relief to DREAMers who are currently in proceedings; while it’s a good first step, more remains to be done to bring the hundreds of thousands of other young people who are not in proceedings out of the shadows,” said the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) in a statement. “Today’s gathering served to emphasize that faith communities and other supporters would not give up on their goal of DREAM legislation.”

“We at Judson Memorial Church are called by the teachings of our faith to hold a DREAMers Solidarity Service as part of this important initiative,” said Rev. Michael Ellick, minister of Judson and co-chair of the Interfaith Network. “According to scripture, we must pursue justice, act with compassion, and welcome and honor the strangers among us.”

“Sen. Dick Durbin knows, and we know in New York, that strong faith community advocacy for the DREAM Act can increase support in Congress,” said Diane Steinman, director of the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform. “That’s why he has launched the national DREAM Sabbath initiative.”

“Ultimately, Congress has to pass the DREAM Act, to provide a path to citizenship for young people who grew up here without status,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the NYIC. “The gathering today aims to keep the spotlight on DREAMers and to make clear that Congress might be in a state of paralysis now, but that doesn’t mean we are; the fight for DREAMers goes on.”

“Real immigration reform cannot be achieved solely by undocumented immigrants and DREAMers like me,” said Vargas, founder of Define American. “Indeed, we need the help of American citizens — our educators, our faith leaders — who have been standing up in stalwart support to elevate the conversation about immigration.”

One Comment

  1. Bert Ragung wrote:

    Nice post, thank you. Do you have a Twitter account?

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