Religious Leaders and the DREAM Act

On December 14, a group of religious leaders held a prayer summit and “Jericho March” on Capitol Hill to urge senators to vote in favor of a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country by their parents and who go on to post-secondary education or military service. Watch excerpts from remarks by Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and interviews with Rev. Minerva Carcano, bishop of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church; Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners; and Rev. Russell Meyer, a Lutheran pastor in Tampa and executive director of the Florida Council of Churches.


  • Shelly Weiss

    DREAM Act would be a large reward for the lawbreaking parents. You cannot simultaneously say you want to deal with a problem of massive lawbreaking and also start giving rewards to people who broke the law.

    The reward is not just in the fact that their kids end up getting goodies–it’s also that the kids get to bring in the parents through family unification! The latest house version of DREAM adds in some devious little changes that supposedly put an end to this–but actually just say that it can’t happen for 12 years. Which is about when they would be eligible to play this card anyway! Tricky tricky.

    Also let’s keep in mind that these are not a group of Rhodes Scholars we are talking about–it’s just kids who get some GED degree and then take a few years of community college coursework online.

    Get the border closed up tight first, and then we could consider a much narrower DREAM act that gives amnesty to only kids with high educational attainment, and doesn’t let them bring their lawbreaking parents in EVER.

  • Gloria Ilan

    Kudos, Rabbi Saperstein, for this work. I believe what you are doing here is what this country stands for. Freedom is for all. These people who came here as children and grew up here certainly have earned their citizenship.

  • David

    This was awe-inspiring, and it created in me a simultaneous feeling of vulnerability, perhaps as I felt the onrush of emotion pour out from these faith leaders. Humility is knowing the stranger’s pain, and seeking to end that pain. That was the message, and it has me livid, in a limbo between reality, and what is to be for at least thousands of americans. The Tree of Life . Beautiful, amazing power!

  • Roger Guillaumes

    I am reacting to Shelly Weiss comments above:

    If we take your argument regarding tightening the border, then it would NEVER happen. Our country is so large that our borders will never be 100% secure. Period. You would need a huge Coast Guard fleet to patrol the Gulf, the Atlantic and the Pacific. That’s never going to happen. The Coast Guard cannot even get the funds to provide the basic services they are responsible for.

    Second, you are also advocating for an expansion of the our Border Patrol agencies. At what cost and what other programs will be affected because of this massive expansion? You would probably want to cut services and programs that I would like to keep such as Social Security, social welfare programs, education funding, health programs, etc.

    Third, what about our northern borders? Would you ‘fortify’ those also? I’d like to see how you could justify those costs in the federal budget since it is a three thousand mile border that runs through virgin forests, farm lands, prairies, mountains, islands, lakes, etc. Quebec also had a period of massive migration to New England states in the early 1900s. Many crossed the border seeking jobs in the mills of New England and many of them were disparaged in the same ways that current immigrants are.

    Fourth, how MANY YEARS would this border protection take? Would you keep these people from becoming USA citizens all those years until you (and your supporters) are satisfied? But, would you ever be satisfied?
    IF HISTORY teaches us anything (as it did my ancestors), you and your supporters will NEVER be satisfied about the border or immigration.

    Finally, as all of us need reminding… WE ARE ALL IMMIGRANTS TO THIS CONTINENT (never mind country). The only people who are not immigrants are the First Nations who were here before Europeans brought disease and persecution to this continent. They welcomed us (in most cases) and assisted Europeans in their early settlements on the East coast of our continent. Maybe we need to use them as examples of how we should behave. USA citizens have this vantage point of thinking that it was “discovered” by them and belongs to them. Who was this land taken from? There were millions of people on this continent before European settlers showed up and it was not uninhabited (especially on the East coast).

    Enough said … I support the DREAM Act and truly believe that immigrants should be welcomed to our country who are coming to help build a better, safer and less belligerent world.

  • Norma

    This looks like an awfully small group of “leaders.” Jim Wallis doesn’t lead anyone that I know who is a professing Christian.