The last month has been a roller coaster for DACA recipients. First, the Supreme Court upheld DACA, preventing the Trump administration from bringing it to an end. Then, just this week, the Trump administration put forward an executive action that was mixed: it extended DACA benefits for a year, but it ended any new applications to the program. Even though President Trump says he wants to find a solution, and most people regardless of party want them to stay, the future of dreamers remains a political football with their lives tossed around and played with.

DACA is a pro life, pro family, issue. Dreamers are children, or they were when they came to this country. They are, by all accounts, American. Many of them have no recollection of their country of origin, and for many of them, American culture is all they know. Finding a permanent legislative solution for dreamers should be a top priority for evangelicals who call themselves pro life. The usual immigration arguments don’t apply—they’re not criminals (if they have a record their application is denied), so this has nothing to do with national security. They already contribute to the economy and the broader community without the benefits that come with legal status or citizenship.

Having discussions with evangelicals about dreamers and immigration reform is frustrating. On the one hand they usually admit support for dreamers, and say they want a permanent solution. This is usually followed, however, with throwing up their hands and saying they don’t want to get political. Really? President Trump won the election in 2016 because of the political support of evangelicals. When it comes to abortion the church has no problem being political—willing to vote for a morally flawed candidate for the sake of Supreme Court justices. But when it comes to immigration, dreamers, and the people who are our neighbors, evangelicals don’t want to get political.

It’s time to get political. DACA and immigration reform are political issues that require political solutions. With this administration, the voices that matter are conservative evangelicals. For the sake of dreamers, the Christian community needs to act. Refusing to get political is itself a political action. And, as Matthew 25 says, we are ultimately responsible for the moral actions we don’t do.

Take the time to write your senator and ask them to support a permanent solution to DACA. Do it for their sake, and the sake of their families.

Jason Lief

Dr. Jason Lief teaches courses in Christian education and youth ministry. A Northwestern College graduate, he served as the chaplain for Pella (Iowa) Christian High School while earning a master’s degree in theology from Wheaton College Graduate School. He also completed a doctorate in practical theology from Luther Seminary. He previously taught theology and youth ministry at Dordt College for 10 years. Dr. Lief is the author of “Poetic Youth Ministry: Loving Young People by Learning to Let Them Go” and "Christianity and Heavy Metal as Impure Sacred Within the Secular West: Transgressing the Sacred.”

4 Comments

  • George Vink says:

    AMEN !!

  • William Harris says:

    Two political comments:
    While DACA is certainly pro family, I am not sure that it can be called pro-life. That is, one can easily imagine a pro-choice rationale with equal force, that one has a fundamental right to one’s (social) body.

    Secondly, as to the evangelicals, there is nothing they can do politically. Legislatively, nothing is going to happen between now and the election 95 days away; between Covid and a hammered economy there is little political capital for other measures. Second, there is little evidence that our dysfunctional president is able to be moved by the conventions of bloc politics, yes he needs the votes but the sheer fecklessness of his behavior gives no evidence of a transactional approach (there’s nothing in it for him). And third, on Jan 20, 2021 we hope to have a new president; what leverage will evangelicals have in a Democratic administration?

    So when it comes to DACA and immigration generally, evangelicals are politically worthless, even as the cries of the poor go up to Heaven.

    • Tom says:

      Actually, this SHOULD have very little to do with the president, whoever that happens to be. President Obama’s original DACA essentially skirted around the constitution by issue his own executive order, something he had previously admitted was beyond his constitutional authority. I wholehearted agree with Jason on this issue, and credit him for asking that we pressure Congress.

      While Trump may well be dysfunctional, it’s our even more dysfunctional congress that has failed miserably and bears the blame on this and many other issues.

      • Jason Lief says:

        Yes – you’re right. Congress needs to take action. Most people, regardless of political affiliation, are supportive. The reason I’m connecting the Trump administration and evangelicals is that Trump’s support has created a culture of fear among Republicans who normally would support immigration reform legislation. Lindsey Graham has already proposed the Dream Act, and it needs a co-sponsor. The problem is people are afraid to oppose Trump’s approach for fear of losing their jobs. The real problem is Stephen Miller who has been influential in crafting the Trump Administrations approach to immigration. Here’s an article that explores the background of Miller’s immigration views and his influence in the administration. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/08/01/stephen-miller-david-horowitz-mentor-389933

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