Were it not for a piece of paper, you wouldn’t know the difference between a DREAMer and your own children.
DREAMers have had as much of an American childhood as your children. In fact, there’s a strong possibility they attended the same school as your kids or might have even been the teacher in their classroom. At one point, you probably unwittingly cheered for one of them at your son or daughter’s soccer game and might have given him or her a ride to practice. And if your family goes to church on Sunday, your kids likely prayed and worshiped with DREAMers.
Actually, if you’ve ever come to Free Chapel, the church I pastor, I can assure you your kids definitely bumped into a DREAMer. I’m a father of five, and when I look at a DREAMer, I don’t see an “undocumented immigrant,” a dollar figure or a political party. I see a young man or woman who could’ve been my own kid.
This is the perspective I have asked our leaders — including the president during a meeting in the oval office — to take: think of DREAMers as if they are your own children. Because, other than not having a U.S. birth certificate, DREAMers are as much children of our soil as anybody else born here.
As a follower of Christ, I believe our laws should always be undergirded by both justice and mercy. In the case of DREAMers, these values couldn’t be more applicable.
What makes these children, who are now adults, different than the rest in the immigration debate is that they have not committed any crime to be here. They were brought to America not of their own accord. They had no choice but to grow up here — you can’t blame them for building a life here. As Sen. James Lankford put it recently, “If you pull someone over for speeding, you don’t hand the ticket to the 4-year old in the back seat.”
Now we find ourselves two and a half weeks away from Monday, March 5, the day when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will effectively expire, and hundreds of thousands of young men and women will be subject to deportation.
Presidents from both parties have had majorities in both the House and the Senate, and they have failed to pass the legislation necessary to protect DREAMers, even though many have campaigned on a promise to do so. We’ve had years, in some ways technically decades, to talk and debate about the fate of DREAMers. Enough is enough. This issue is far too important to let it devolve into political football.
Now, our current president, like most Americans, is very concerned about protecting our borders. He was elected on a platform that called for greater border security, and for him — and many Americans — this is non-negotiable. Still, he has laid out a deal for DREAMers that goes much further than what any preceding president has done, Republican or Democrat. He has offered a path to citizenship that is fair and solves this problem once and for all, but not at the expense of securing our borders.
What’s left to be done is what should’ve been done in the first place: Congress must come together, find an agreement and pass a bill that the president will sign.
We all know our senators and representatives don’t have easy jobs. Negotiating on behalf of more than 300 million people is quite an assignment to take on. However, there are moments when our leaders must simply do what’s right. DACA is one of those moments.
I’m telling my congregation and those who watch my television show, read my books, and follow me on social media to call their senators and representatives to make their voice heard and their position clear. Tell them to come to an agreement and protect DREAMers and secure our border, ahead of the upcoming deadline.
This is the right thing to do. This is the time to do it.
Jentezen Franklin served on the Donald J. Trump campaign’s “evangelical advisory board,” is the pastor of Free Chapel, the host of “Kingdom Connection,” and the author of the forthcoming book Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt.