The United Church of Christ has long supported efforts for commonsense immigration reform that would treat our immigrant brothers and sisters with the equality and dignity they deserve. After leadership in the House of Representatives failed to act in 2013, our clergy and lay leaders joined immigrants to call on President Obama to stop the deportations. Many UCC pastors were even part of a civil disobedience action in front of the White House. We were proud to be a part of such a historic victory last November when the President announced his executive actions on immigration that would provide relief from deportation for an estimated 5 million undocumented people.
Now the strategy of Republican governors to hold up executive action in the courts is once again delaying justice. The United Church of Christ was part of a faith amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals with 17 other faith-based organizations and congregations. We filed this friend-of-the-court brief because of the harm this injunction is causing to millions of immigrant families living in fear of deportation – and the impact in our own congregations as many prepare legal clinics to assist in the application process for the executive action. It is a moral tragedy to continue the delay on Obama’s immigration actions.
In reaction to the recent denial to stay the court injunction, setting the stage for Deferred Action for Parent Accountability (DAPA) to go to the Supreme Court, this lawsuit has always been about politics over people. It’s unfortunate the Fifth Circuit has refused to lift the injunction while millions continue to fear the potential of deportation. Our commitment as the United Church of Christ to walk alongside immigrants in the struggle to implement DAPA and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policies remains a top priority as we also work to welcome all people, regardless of documentation status, into our congregations.
We pray that the administration once again appeals this decision and that the court process to rectify this injustice is as speedy as possible. We also call on the President to continue his leadership on immigration by doing more in the midst of these court proceedings. He has a moral responsibility to halt deportations and make sure prosecutorial discretion is implemented in a broad and inclusive form.
UCC congregations and the UCC National Collaborative on Immigration continue to prepare legal clinics, host educational forums, and work alongside immigrant communities as we prepare for the day when DACA and DAPA prevail in the courts.