Our Sisters have plenty to say about President Trump’s recent decision to rescind DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — that protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children. The matter is now left to Congress, but with hurricane relief, tax reform and everything else on its plate, can Congress act in time?

We’re posting some thoughts and concerns (in this order) from Sisters Maria Hughes, Kris Schrader, and Bernadine Wessel.

 


Sister Maria Hughes showing her support for “Dreamers” with a Facebook profile picture filter

There is a line in the song, “Corner of the Sky,” from Pippin that says, “Everyone has their daydreams, and everyone has their goals. People like the way dreams have of sticking to the soul. Thunderclouds have their lightning. Nightingales have their song.  Don’t you see I want my life to be something more than long?”

I’ve been mulling this line since hearing about the DACA decision. Our own Adorers of the Blood of Christ were immigrants to the U.S. who dreamed of caring for God’s people and quickly became part of the fabric of the society around them.

Among us today are young people with dreams of a better world, who want their lives to be more than long. They want to make a difference and many are doing that right now.

I hold in my heart all those whose dreams “stick to their souls.”  May the hearts of our country’s decision makers choose life for these “dreamers,” our dear neighbors, who with us will help create a world of welcome and compassion with liberty and justice for all.

“Among us today are young people with dreams of a better world…”

 


I recently volunteered with the nonprofit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services in San Antonio, Texas, that serves immigrant and refugee families in central and south Texas.

“Dreamers,” young men and women in their 20s, some pursuing master’s degrees, who came to the US before age 2, did an enormous amount of work at the agency. Specifically, they interviewed, translated and prepared mostly women and children asylum seekers who were detained in prison-like facilities.

I was impressed every day by their dedication, compassion and work ethic. It’s hard right now to think of them being deported.  They love this country and believed they had a future here. How many educators, professionals, artists and compassionate souls will our country lose with this decision?

“How many educators, professionals, artists and compassionate souls will our country lose with this decision?”

 

As my friend and author Joyce Maynard said, “I am heartbroken for them, and for us all, that we live in a country where this kind of cruelty has become the law of the land.”

 


When I heard about the DACA decision, my whole being said, “This is not right.”

We who believe that God has created us as brothers and sisters must hang our heads in shame. As Americans, we learned that the U.S. is great for its liberty and opportunity. We earned admiration from those who wanted to share in the greatness.

But maybe we are kidding ourselves. We need to look at our history and acknowledge that the message of the Statue of Liberty is an ideal that we haven’t always met. We need a history lesson about our real actions toward immigrants.

Have we, who are descendants of immigrants, forgotten the stories within our own families of leaving a homeland to pursue dreams in a new country – the struggles to find a home and a job, to learn the language and understand the customs without losing a sense of one’s identity and self-worth?

“We need to look at our history and acknowledge that the message of the Statue of Liberty is an ideal that we haven’t always met.”

 

I look at the Dreamers and see their sense of abandonment and powerlessness, their fear for themselves, their families and the future.

But, I also see their dream is still alive and gives them courage.  They have grown up with a sense of belonging to the United States. Because they lack documents, they have been careful to do well, obey the law and get good grades.

We, who believe that we are all children of God, who look to the message of the Statue of Liberty, who are descendants of immigrants, must not let them struggle alone.

If we want to claim the American ideal as our own, then we must commit to help the Dreamers in their struggle by educating ourselves about the issue and urging our members of Congress to offer them protection. Most especially, it means that we speak up for those our faith tells us are our brothers and sisters.