BALTIMORE, MD – Recent news reports suggest that President Trump is seriously considering the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which since 2012 has allowed approximately 800,000 young people who came to the United States as children to obtain employment authorization and a reprieve from the threat of deportation.
We have witnessed first-hand the transformation in these young people’s lives as they have been given the opportunity to work lawfully, which they have used to advance their educations, to help provide for their families, and to serve their local churches and the broader community.
World Relief has a long history of serving and advocating for vulnerable immigrants and refugees. Along with our local church partners, we have assisted thousands of individuals in applying for or renewing their DACA designation through provision of affordable Immigration Legal Services. World Relief believes that such a designation has afforded hard working, decent young people an opportunity to live their lives with a level of security and opportunity that allows them to flourish. Such a designation is needed to ensure these young people can continue to pursue their dreams even as Congress comes up with a more comprehensive solution.
Like many other employers throughout the country, World Relief has also been richly blessed by several staff members whose work authorization is contingent upon the DACA program. Along with many businesses and organizations, our ministry would be harmed if we were no longer able to employ these superb individuals in whom we have invested training and staff development resources.
As such, we are deeply troubled by the news that the program may be rescinded, and we urge President Trump to keep the program in place at least until such time as Congress passes a legislative solution to the legal status challenges faced by these individuals.
We urge Members of Congress to expeditiously pass such legislation, which enjoys broad bipartisan support in various polls. Most Americans agree that a young person who was brought to the United States as a young child—who has otherwise abided by the law, has applied themselves at school, and who voluntarily provided their information to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at our federal government’s invitation to initially apply for DACA—should maintain the opportunity to work, pay taxes, and contribute. It would be unjust to punish these individuals for a decision made, in most cases, by their parents.
Members of Congress in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have already introduced bipartisan legislation including the DREAM Act and the BRIDGE Act that would sustain, at least on an interim basis, these individuals’ employment authorization and protection from deportation. We applaud these efforts, and urge all Members of Congress to quickly pass one of these bills without delay.
“As followers of Jesus, we believe that advocating for this legislation is an important way to tangibly love our neighbors and to stand in solidarity with the many in the U.S. whose livelihoods depend upon this program,” said World Relief president Scott Arbeiter. “To end the DACA program at this point, without a legislative solution, would be unjust and cruel,” added World Relief CEO Tim Breene, “We urge those in positions of authority to do all they can to stand with these young people who have contributed so much to our country and have the God-given potential to contribute so much more if we, as a society, will allow them.”
As our nation faces a series of trials—including a devastating hurricane in Texas, the aftermath of violence perpetrated by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, and now the possibility of hundreds of thousands of young people being put at risk if the DACA program is terminated—World Relief calls upon Christians everywhere to pray for our nation. In obedience to Scripture, we pray in particular for those entrusted to positions of political leadership, that all who call this country home, including those who are most vulnerable, “may live peaceful and quiet lives” (1 Timothy 2:2).
World Relief is a global humanitarian relief and development organization that stands with the vulnerable and partners with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transform lives and build sustainable communities. With over 70 years of experience, World Relief works in 20 countries worldwide through disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding and has offices in the United States that specialize in refugee and immigration services.