Lawrence, KS (September 5) — Kansas Interfaith Action, a statewide, faith-based advocacy organization, condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of President Trump to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“The decision to dismantle the DACA program is an affront to basic human decency,” said Rabbi Moti Rieber, executive director of KIFA. “The major religious traditions teach us to welcome the stranger and to treat people fairly. This decision runs directly counter to those teachings. It harms not only the people directly involved, but frankly, the very soul of our nation.”
The DACA program, initiated in 2012 by Pres. Obama, protects more than 800,000 people who were brought to the US as children, without documentation. Those who are approved are considered “low-priority” for immigration enforcement, allowing them to live and work without fear of arrest or deportation. “Dreamers”, as they are called, grew up in the US; went to school here; often went to college or served in the armed forces; and are law-abiding, productive citizens. They know no other home, and if they are deported, it will be to countries that many of them may not even have visited.
DACA includes an application process, and to be eligible a Dreamer has to have completed high school or gotten a GED, been honorably discharged from the armed forces, or currently be enrolled in school. They also have to have a clean criminal record of no felonies and no more than three misdemeanors, meaning that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's characterization of Dreamers as “gang bangers” has no basis in fact.
“Dreamers are productive members of their communities and of American society as a whole,” said Rabbi Rieber. “Taking away their protections, making them liable for deportation, serves no purpose other than playing to xenophobic elements in the president's base. We should not play with people's lives this way. KIFA urges Congress to act immediately to codify DACA and protect the Dreamers.”