Updated as of 2017-11-16
On November 14, 20 members of the UUSJ Advocacy Corps met with staff in 7 Senate offices to urge immediate passage of a clean Dream Act. Overall, 54 offices were visited. Around 400 personal letters to Senators from UU constituents were delivered to 16 offices and all received a packet of 3 letters from UUSJ, UUA and UUSC.
Congress may act as soon as early December on legislation to give “Dreamers” a pathway to permanent legal status or citizenship, and free them from the threat of deportation. “Dreamers” are young immigrants who were brought into this country as children without legal authorization and grew up here.
Page Contents (click on a title to go to that section):
Action Needed NOW: What You Can Do
1 – Organize a Write Here! Write Now! letter-writing table in your congregation for letters to be delivered to Congressional offices in Washington, DC. Click here to download WHWN material.
The UUSJ Capitol Hill Advocacy Corps will deliver letters received by mail. Advocacy Corps volunteers will visit and talk with Congressional staff on November 14. Send an email to email@example.com for more information or to make arrangements. It is essential that each letter include the name, street address and zip code of the constituent.
2 – Contact both of your Senators and your Representative. Use this UUSJ background information and sample letter to guide your advocacy message.
Suggested message by phone or email:
(If your Senator is already a co-sponsor, thank them for supporting Dreamers and urge them to work towards comprehensive immigration reform.)
Hi, my name is [your name] I’m a constituent from [city, state].
I am a Unitarian Universalist from (name of congregation and location). Guided by my faith, I believe that no human being is illegal. I stand in solidarity with Dreamers, young immigrants who were brought here without authorization through no fault of their own.
Please tell Senator (or Representative) [name] to support passage of the 2017 Dream Act and provide a swift pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. Don’t combine it with measures that allow for harsher immigration enforcement, detention, deportation, funding for more border security or a separation wall.
Pass a clean bill!
Sen. Mark Warner (202) 224-2023
Sen. Tim Kaine (202) 224-4024
Sen. Ben Cardin (202) 224-4524
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (202) 224-4654
U.S. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use our partner, NETWORK’s, toll free hotline to the Senate, which they provided for a previous action (ignore the message) 1-888-738-3058
To find Congressional e-mail addresses or other information, visit these Congressional websites:
3 – Ask your friends and family members to contact their Senators and Representatives, too.
Send them the link to this page – http://bit.ly/TakeAction4DreamAct.
4 – Spread the word – Post messages to social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
Include the link to this page – http://bit.ly/TakeAction4DreamAct.
Hashtags – #DreamAct, #Dreamers, #ProtectDreamers, #WeAreAllDreamers
The Dream Act 2017 S.1615/H.R.3440 (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) is a bipartisan legislative proposal that has been considered by the House of Representatives and Senate since 2001, but never passed. It seeks to address the difficult situation of young people living in the US without legal authorization, to shield them from deportation and provide a pathway to permanent legal status or citizenship. It is one piece of the larger puzzle of comprehensive immigration reform.
In 2012, the Obama Administration established and implemented DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) to give temporary protection to this vulnerable group of people. This administrative program gave these “Dreamers” the temporary right to live, study and work in the US, without fear of deportation. Recipients had to fit certain qualifications and renew their status every two years. 70% of recipients were 10 years old or younger when they came to the United States, and 71% have a U.S. citizen spouse, sibling, or child. The average age of DACA recipients is 25.
President Trump has cancelled the DACA program and given Congress until March 2018 to pass a legislative solution. Nearly 700,000 Dreamers were in the DACA program at the time Trump ended it. Their DACA-related status will begin to expire in March 2018, unless Congress creates a legislative pathway to temporary or permanent legal immigration status for them. All Dreamers will lose their status by March 2020.
Our UU Spiritual Grounding
In 2013 our Unitarian Universalist General Assembly passed a Statement of Conscience on “Immigration as a Moral Issue” which states: “Our Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources compel us to affirm that all immigrants, regardless of legal status, should be treated justly and humanely.” We strongly support a just and equitable reform of our nation’s immigration laws.
The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and Thomas Andrews, President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), issued this statement in response to the Trump administration’s announcement to end the DACA program.
Background, Resources and Relevant News Media Coverage Links
- Friends Committee on National Legislation – Emergency Dream Act Conference Call (transcript and recording)
- CNN Politics – US immigration: DACA and Dreamers explained
- National Immigration Law Center – DREAM ACT 2017, Summary and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- CNN Politics – What is the DREAM Act?
- Vox – The 3 bills Congress could use to protect DACA recipients
- Meet Tereza Lee, the Undocumented Immigrant Who Inspired the DREAM Act
- National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
- American Immigration Lawyers Association – Daily immigration newsclips
- United We Dream
- American Immigration Council
- Migration Policy Institute – “Protecting the DREAM: The Potential Impact of Different Legislative Scenarios for Unauthorized Youth”
- Center for American Progress
- Unitarian Universalist Association – “UUA and UUSC Leaders are Appalled by Decision to End DACA”
- Interfaith Immigration Coalition
- Comparison of “Dream” Bills Pending in Congress by Greg Siskind