Congressional wrangling and presidential commentary over a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals solution have dominated recent news headlines. It is my prayer that those who represent Hoosiers in Washington will keep their focus on the people directly impacted by the termination of the DACA program.
The Bible teaches that each Dreamer – along with every other human person, regardless of country of origin – is made in God’s image. Scripture makes it clear that God has particular concern for two categories of people at the center of the current policy debate. Immigrants are mentioned several times in the Old Testament, along with orphans and widows as uniquely vulnerable individuals for whom God has concern. Jesus consistently demonstrated his love for children and condemned those who would cause them to stumble.
There are also economic reasons for Congress to act. If DACA is allowed to end without a legislative solution, approximately 10,000 Dreamers in Indiana will lose their work authorization. If their employers follow the law, they will lose their jobs. If this occurs, our state’s gross domestic product will decline by more than $500 million as these individuals are no longer able to lawfully work, pay taxes, and participate in the economy.
I am encouraged by polls that show more than 80 percent of Americans want Congress to pass legislation that would allow Dreamers to stay lawfully in the U.S, keep their jobs, and continue to contribute. Time is of the essence. Beginning in March, even if legislation were to pass today, employers nationwide will be required to lay off roughly 1,000 Dreamers daily.
My plea to the entire Hoosier congressional delegation is that they come together and find a solution quickly. Congress has deferred action on this issue long enough and lives are in the balance.
Akron Community Relations Task Force