Text of the letter:
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by doing so, some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews13:1)
As bishops of the Episcopal Church we implore you not to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. To do so would endanger the lives of thousands of young people and their families and run contrary to the faith and moral traditions of our country.
It is unfair to threaten the well-being of young people who arrived in our country as children through no choice of their own. Ending DACA without a similar replacement program will force these young people to face the future in this country with little access to education and employment, and ultimately, could very well lead to sending them to countries where they did not grow up, have few support structures, may not even speak the language and may be vulnerable to violence and persecution.
Any of these scenarios, we believe, is cruel.
The alternative for us as a country is to move forward, to celebrate and benefit from the presence of these ‘Dreamers’ and to provide a pathway to citizenship that enables them to remain and strengthen our country.
The Episcopal Church has long advocated for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reforms that prioritize family unity and humanitarian concerns. It is time for Congress to develop long-term solutions for immigrant families.
In front of most of the Episcopal Churches across the country is a sign that says, ‘The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.’ We have this sign because we are followers of the way of Jesus of Nazareth, and our Christian tradition shares with many other faith bodies the absolute importance of welcoming the foreigner in our midst. Throughout the centuries this tradition has brought us great wisdom and strength as the foreigner among us has become a part of the fabric of our country’s life.
In recent years, our congregations throughout the United States have witnessed firsthand the benefits that the young ‘Dreamers’ have brought to our community programs and life. We have been inspired by, and gained much from, their American spirit.
We urge you to enact permanent, meaningful legislation that will protect ‘Dreamers’ and enable these young people to remain a part of our country-which is also theirs.
Signed by all bishops of The Episcopal Church, including Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, XXVI Presiding Bishop, Diocese of San Diego.
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