Leaders in both the Senate and the House of Representatives have announced that the DREAM Act will likely go up for a vote in both the House and Senate during the week of November 29. World Relief has long advocated for the passage of this bipartisan bill, which would allow undocumented students to earn legal status if they graduate from high school and go on to college or military service. (There’s more info on the details of the legislation at http://worldrelief.org/Document.Doc?id=695 and a few theological reflections that I’ve written at http://faithandimmigration.org/blog/let-little-children-come-scripture-and-dream-act-matt-soerens). As you might expect, there are also myths and half-truths about the bill being spread via email; many of them are addressed in this fact sheet: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/dispelling-dream-act-myths. The DREAM Act has been publicly supported in recent weeks by many Christian leaders and institutions, including conservative Christian leaders like Regent University president Carlos Campo
Just last night I got together to pray and sing some worship songs with a family in my neighborhood. Three of their five kids were born here in Chicagoland and are citizens, but their oldest son was deported to Mexico earlier this year, and their next oldest, a 20-year-old recent high school graduate, is unable to go on to college because she lacks legal status. She was brought here as a 1-year-old, speaks English perfectly, and is very bright—but she works (unlawfully) at a dry cleaner for very low wages, resigned to the fact that, without the chance to continue her education, she’ll never be able to work in a vocation that better uses her God-given gifts and talents. I know there are similar stories in many of your churches. As we pray for these individuals, I’d ask that you please consider four actions this week on their behalf:
1) Please pray that the Lord would direct the hearts of our Representatives and Senators as they consider how they will vote.
2) Please contact your Representative and Senators and ask them to vote “yes” on the DREAM Act. If you’re in Illinois and can make just one call, I’d ask you to call Senator-Elect Mark Kirk, who will be sworn in as Illinois’ new senator next Monday (just in time for this vote) and who has thus far been wary to take a firm stand either way on this bill. His D.C. office number is 202-225-4835. It’s as easy as dialing and telling whomever answers (or the answering machine), “Hi, My name is [your name]. I’m from [church name] in [city name], and I am calling to ask the Senator-Elect to please vote in favor of the DREAM Act.” You can also send a free fax to his office by going to http://icirr.e-actionmax.com/takeaction.asp?aaid=701.
It would also be important to contact your Representative in the House of Representatives. If you’re not sure of who your representative is, you can see our maps—and the appropriate telephone number—at http://worldrelief.org/Page.aspx?pid=2068. While some of the representatives in suburban Chicago lost their elections earlier this month, they are still in office until January and will be voting next week.
3) Please consider asking others in your church to make a call or send a fax as well. The quantity of calls and faxes that a congressional office receives around any piece of legislation really does make a difference! This upcoming Sunday will very likely be the last Sunday before this legislation comes to a vote in both houses of Congress. You might also spread the word via email, twitter, or facebook.
Thank you for standing with the vulnerable!
US Church Training Specialist
1825 College Ave. Suite 230
Wheaton, IL 60187
STAND/for the Vulnerable