A Christian Approach to “Dreamers”

This blog was inspired by a friend and church member–and a fine human being–who is a DACA recipient.

You can call them “dreamers.”  I like that.

Or you can call them “DACA recipients,” though that sounds overly bureaucratic.

But let’s not call them aliens, which makes them sound weird and otherworldly. And let’s not call them illegals, which makes it sound like they’ve purposely committed a criminal act. They are in our country due to a choice made by their parents or other adult family members without their input and through no fault of their own.

So how about we just start by calling them human beings?  And expand that by adding that they are human beings in a tough situation?

And then we can, as Christians, look for a compassionate response to their need.

For they really are in a tough situation.  They came to our country young.  They’ve grown up as “Americans,” but without all of the rights of citizenship.  They’re paying a price for decisions others made.  Their status is uncertain.   Their options are limited.  Their future is not secure.

To leave them in their current situation doesn’t fit with my Christian understanding of compassion and justice.  And neither does deporting them.

Please understand that I’m not talking politics in this blog.  I’m not making a pro-or-anti statement about the Obama administration. I’m not making a pro-or-anti statement about the Trump administration. I’m not proposing a solution to the overall immigration situation in our country. I’m not speaking for-or-against a wall on our southern border in this blog.  And I’m not speaking as a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or a progressive.

I’m trying to separate my political thoughts on the larger situation and trying to come up with a Christian response to a particular group of people, popularly called “dreamers.”  I’m speaking as a Christian, and attempting to give a Christian response to a tough situation.

So with that lengthy introduction, here’s my Christian response:

It is not fair or just or compassionate to force a group of people to live in fear of being deported when they have not committed an illegal act.  It’s not fair or just to leave them with an uncertain future and a second class status.

My understanding of Christian compassion and justice means that we need to treat them with respect and dignity.  We need to allow them to stay in this country while Congress works on a solution.  And Congress and the President need to give them an honest path to citizenship in a reasonable length of time.

Make it tough if you want.  Put requirements on them.  Insist that they get an education or serve in the military, pay their taxes, learn a trade, get a job, and stay out of trouble.  The dreamers I’ve met and talked to are already doing those things and would be perfectly willing to meet reasonable standards.

If our country really does want to be just, fair, and compassionate there is no other real response.  If we really do believe in “liberty and justice for all,” here is our chance to show it.

It is the right thing to do.  It is the Christian thing to do.

And I encourage other Christians–regardless of their political persuasion–to stand with the dreamers and demand an appropriate, just, and compassionate response from our leaders.

About Pastor Jack

Pastor Jack Marslender is the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Avondale. He is married (Dawn) and is the father of Tina, Rebecca, Kimberly, Melinda, Angela, Maria, Kenneth, Kevin, and Lorissa. He is also the grandfather of Wyatt, Emilie, Everett, Olivia, Dylan, Charlotte, and Aiden.
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