Dreamer Sunday, March 4

Join Matthew 25 churches throughout Southern California as we pray with Dreamers and their families on Dreamer Sunday, March 4, 2018. Christians in Southern California have been speaking out and praying alongside Dreamers – young people who contribute in many ways in our communities. Dreamers teach our children, labor in the technology industry, are business owners but most importantly their lives are valuable in the eyes of God no matter what role they play in our country. We have cried from frustration at the lack of political will in our government; have hoped and participated in public witness actions locally and nationally for a resolution that respects the dignity of Dreamers and their families; and have taken action by calling and visiting our local legislators on the importance of passing a bill that will allow a permanent solution for Dreamers. Thousands of Christians will gather in college campuses and church on Sunday, March 4, 2018 to pray, light candles in symbol of the hope we have in Christ to turn the hearts of those who hold the fate of Dreamers in their hands and do right by them. The Church is here to say: We Are With You Dreamers! God will not leave them alone and neither will the Church of Christ.

Let us know you are signing up by filling out this registration form:

What can Dreamer Sunday look like?

  • Hold a prayer vigil in your Bible study group, at Chapel (college students), missions group or main congregation.
  • Light a candle as a symbol of representation of the hope we have for a DACA resolution that protects the dignity of Dreamers
  • Post your event in social media and include the following hashtags: #dreamersunday #wevaluedreamers
  • Encourage church members to call their representatives and ask for a resolution on DACA. Congress will be working on temporary and more permanent alternatives. To find out who your representative is click here. Here is a sample script to help guide your request:
    “My name is ____ and I’m a constituent in your district. I’m calling in support of the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act I support is Pro-Family, allows a pathway to citizenship and doesn’t have enforcement provisions. Thank you.”

Go to our website link here  for a complete list of ideas and resources to help you put together a Dreamer Sunday. Some of the options include:

We pray that you will join us and this be a beginning for you and your church to engage with us at Matthew 25 So Cal!

 

By Rev. Alexia Salvatierra

On the day after the election, I woke up crying in fear for the people who are likely to be in real danger because of the promises and threats made by our new President. His political appointments since that date have intensified my concern.

It feels to me like a historical moment where it is essential for the Church to be publicly faithful to the call of our Lord in Matthew 25 to respond to those who are vulnerable as if we were responding to Jesus himself.

If millions of Christians stand up together for the vulnerable ones in our midst, our common voice may be too loud to be ignored. At the same time, we urgently need to do the actual, on-the-ground, work of setting up effective networks to protect people from harm.

I am asking for your help, as my friends and colleagues, my brothers and sisters.

SIGN THE PLEDGE: The Matthew 25 Movement Pledge reads, “I pledge to protect and defend the vulnerable in the name of Jesus.” Please join us in this pledge. You can sign it here, and encourage others to sign it as well.  We hope to use this to show the administration and new Congress how many Christians share this concern, across the partisan divide. We also will have a “signal committee” that may call for a national action if needed to show that we mean what we say. If you sign up on our website or on the joint website coming soon, we can let you know about any actions you can join.

1) SET UP A NETWORK OR PARTICIPATE IN A NETWORK FOR PROTECTION AND DEFENSE: I believe that there are three groups of people who are most at risk right now: immigrants, young people of color, and Muslims. The website we are setting up will have resources for helping each group. However, I think we have to start preparing as soon as possible and I personally know some of the potential dangers to immigrants:

-750,000 young people who were brought here as children and have been protected from deportation and given work permits under President Obama’s Executive Order in 2012. President-elect Trump has promised to revoke that order his first day in office, making them vulnerable to deportation.

-Over 2,000,000 immigrants who have not been convicted of a crime but who have been arrested (the administration’s explanation of the difference between the 3 million “criminals” that President-elect Trump has said that he will deport and the 800,000 estimated undocumented individuals that have committed crimes).

-Parents of citizen children with strong work records who currently may apply for deferred deportation under a national policy that prioritizes the use of enforcement resources to deport people who are considered dangerous rather than people who are clearly integrated into and contributing to our communities. The administration has promised to end that policy as well as the “sensitive zones” policy that keeps ICE from entering a congregation, hospital, or school without a judicial warrant.

-Central American refugees who will not be able to leave detention with an electronic monitor (allowing them to obtain a lawyer to represent them in seeking asylum).

Because we are losing federal policies that protect immigrants from unjust deportation, local public-private partnerships will need to create and maintain policies, structures and systems on a local level that provide substitute protection. There will be areas of the country where we can create/maintain safe zones, both in terms of legislation and of policies negotiated with the local ICE Field Office Directors. (The President-elect has threatened to cut off federal support for any area that attempts to protect immigrants but we believe that this will result in a legal battle.)

There will be other areas of the country which are danger zones. Different strategies are required in safe and danger zones. Churches will have special contributions that we can make to these strategies.

On the faithrootedorganizing.net website, I have listed a variety of actions that Christian individuals, ministries, and churches can carry out in both kinds of areas, as well as providing resources that can help you to protect and defend immigrants (see the Matthew 25 FAQ).

I also recommend SanctuaryNotDeportation.org to find where there are sanctuary churches that you can support or partner with, as well as toolkits resources for offering sanctuary. If you have a specific question that you do not see answered there, please feel free to email me and I will respond.

2) ADVOCATE with your Senators for the BRIDGE Act (by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) which provides a legislative solution for the 750,000 Dreamers who have been protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Executive Act (DACA) which the new President has threatened to repeal.

Talking Points: DACA has unlocked countless economic opportunities for roughly 750,000 young people, 700,000 of whom are in the workforce and paying income taxes. In addition to getting a job, DACA allows young immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, get health insurance, access basic health services, open bank accounts, pay taxes, enroll in college, take out mortgages and car loans, and provide for their families. Losing DACA would rip away these basic necessities from young immigrants who are integrated into American society, and would be a tremendous loss for these individuals, their families, and their communities. DACA has allowed Dreamers to work in every industry and at nearly every single major company in America. Removing 700,000 people from the workforce in a single day would cost $433.4 billion in GDP loss over a decade. DACA repeal would divert limited enforcement resources from high security threats. DACA recipients have undergone biometric and biographical criminal background checks. Not only would a repeal drive 750,000 immigrants who have passed thorough background checks and are registered with the government back into the shadows, but it would waste enforcement resources.

I am usually very careful about respecting that everyone has good work to do and therefore not asking for help – but I truly believe that these are some really effective ways that we can respond to this emergency. Please help if you can.

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