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Blog: The DREAM Act and Immigration Reform

Jun 01, 2012 | By Mary Ellen Lacy, D.C.

On Wednesday, I lobbied White House officials as a member of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition. We asked the administration to utilize its considerable executive powers to facilitate some kind of categorical relief for the Dreamer. And we presented our arguments for realization of the Dream as members of a large interfaith coalition that can claim solidarity in our view regarding the need for acceptance and freedom for the Dreamers of this generation.

Forty to fifty years ago, Reverend Martin Luther King fought for a similar Dream, with similar faith support. He dreamed that, one day, little black children and little white children would join hands as brothers and sisters. Inequality, as a matter of law, would be abolished.

Today, the Dream lives… but it will never be fully realized until we reach out to join hands with the brown children and the yellow children too…until all children join hands freely.

I work on healthcare, nutrition, safety net, etc., with many interfaith activist coalitions. Different religious values and beliefs make for different points of view and political thoughts. Birth control… war…. gay persons’ rights… so much prevents us from coming to full agreement. Some subjects can’t even be raised. But on this topic of justice for the Dreamer, we all, without reservation, agree.

So the mere fact that all religions represented in this large, interfaith coalition agree on this subject must tell us all something. It is so right, so clear, that there can be no just opposition.

I believe it is God saying that it is time for the truth to be unearthed, …right here, …right now. We believe that the innocent child who was brought over by an adult should not suffer one more day. All available measures to assist them should be fully implemented. I think that the present administration believes this as well. But faith without works is dead.

We know, as faithful people, that we belong to each other. And once we truly believe that we belong to one another, our responsibility to treat each other with respect and dignity comes alive. A valid belief should always create a will to effect change.

So our faith communities serve the undocumented and documented immigrant populations in the streets. Daily, in some form or another, we serve the hungry, the homeless and the cold immigrant. We see their pain. And we know their suffering is created by the laws that allow treatment that is unequal, unaccepting and racist. So, we work in our congregations and on Capitol Hill to revolutionize the hearts of people.

In the meanwhile, as Martin Luther King further reminds us: the habits, if not the hearts of people, have been and are being altered by legislative acts, judicial decisions and executive orders. We will not be misled by those who would argue that justice for the Dreamer cannot be achieved through force of law. (adapted from Strength to Love)

Laws and executive orders that provide for justice and the common good enable human beings to live as God intended for them to live.

The administration has publicly professed belief in justice for the Dreamer. I think everyone in that room believed in this. But faith without works is dead. So we must ask ourselves, can we make our work reflect our stated belief? A great man once said, ‘YES WE CAN’.

He was right.