Like many of my friends, I am profoundly disappointed by Saturday’s defeat of the DREAM Act by just a few votes in the Senate. I have to confess this is the first time I have actually called the offices of politicians to ask for their vote on a particular piece of legislation. I had really hoped that Senator Kirk would change his mind and vote Yes. I’m grateful to Senator Dick Durbin for sponsoring and championing this bill, and to Representative Melissa Bean for voting Yes and helping to pass the bill in the House of Representatives last week.
I want to say to the many God-loving, hard-working young people—some in my church—whose hopes were dashed by the failure of the DREAM Act that you will not be forgotten. Your dreams will not be ignored. Your value and dignity depend not on the affirmation of any government, but on the affirmation of the God who created and loves you. Your friends will continue to work on your behalf.
Reading various comments of opponents of the DREAM Act convinced me that many people understood neither the specifics of the DREAM Act, nor the reality of our immigration system. I am so grateful to Matt Soerens and Jenny Hwang, whose insightful book, Welcoming the Stranger, bring truth to bear on the myths surrounding immigration and helped me and the leadership of my church to understand both the current political reality and the biblical mandate to love the alien. Educational resources are available at www.welcomingthestranger.com. You can also see updates on immigrate policy, especially as it relates to evangelical Christians, by following Matt Soerens on Twitter at @matthewsoerens or by “liking” www.facebook.com/welcomingthestranger.
I also heartily recommend a recent post by my friend, Kellye Fabian, a Chicago lawyer who serves at the Willow Creek Care Center. As a legal aid volunteer, Kellye hears the behind-the-scenes immigration tragedies that most people never hear; these tragic stories have broken her heart. Please read her blog “The Fallout” at www.justhangingontograce.blogspot.com. (In addition to being a smart, successful lawyer at a hotshot Chicago law firm, Kellye has a huge heart and she’s a great writer. I really enjoy her blog.)