Trump Ends DACA Program, Despite Pleas from Evangelicals

Image: NHCLC

Just days after President Donald Trump met with evangelical leaders to discuss the uncertain future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the White House announced Tuesday that the program will end in March.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called DACA—which allowed 800,000 young immigrant “Dreamers” to obtain temporary legal status and enter the workforce over the past five years—“unconstitutional” and an “overreach of the executive branch.” He said the program led to a surge of young immigrants at the border with Mexico, and ultimately allowed undocumented workers to take jobs from Americans.

The phase-out of DACA leaves those students and workers (including young Christian leaders) at risk of deportation—and puts pressure on Congress to pass immigration reform legislation in the meantime.

Two-thirds of American evangelicals favor giving work permits to Dreamers (66%) while far fewer oppose the permits (22%), according to a Morning Consult/Politico poll released Tuesday evening. Almost 6 in 10 US evangelicals (57%) believe DACA recipients should be allowed to become citizens, while almost 2 in 10 (19%) believe they should be deported.

“Hundreds of thousands of Hispanic young people will be overcome with fear and grief today,” said Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), who has repeatedly lobbied in DACA’s defense as part of the President’s evangelical advisory board. [Rodriguez is also a CT board member.]

“Simultaneously, a multiethnic coalition of tens of millions of law-abiding US citizens will begin to put unrelenting pressure on members of Congress to provide a permanent solution for Dreamers, whose fate is in question by no fault of their own,” he said.

Rodriguez delivered petitions to the White House and met with Trump on Friday, tweeting that he and fellow advisers “continue to use our access to advocate for #DREAMers.”

In The Washington Post, Georgia megachurch pastor Jentezen Franklin said he told Trump that Dreamers were “good kids” and he wanted to see Trump extend compassion to them.

Last week, the NHCLC, along with the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, World Relief, and the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), voiced their support for DACA and its recipients. One young Dreamer, a Liberty University graduate, said in The New York Times that he hoped Trump adviser and Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. could help convince the President to keep DACA.

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Kate Shellnutt

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