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Interfaith Clergy Pray for Undocumented Youth in Front of White House, Call Trump Administration to Show Compassion

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Over 1,600 Interfaith Leaders Call on Trump Administration to Preserve DACA

Faith leaders and advocates gathered in front of the White House to urge the Trump administration to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program, which protects undocumented youth from deportation, is under attack by ten state attorneys general, who have demanded that the Trump administration repeal DACA by September 5th or face a lawsuit.

In an open letter signed by over 1,600 religious leaders nationwide, clergy call on the Trump administration to “keep the DACA program intact for the remainder of your presidency. We must live up to our nation’s proclaimed values of hospitality and opportunity for those seeking a better life.”

“The repeal of DACA would end the American dreams of thousands of immigrant youth who worship in our pews, study in our schools and work in our communities — and it would devastate their families,” the letter states.

READ the letter and signatories here. Watch a livestream of the event here.

Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith Public Life, Washington, DC:

We see unwavering commitment to the brave young immigrants in our pews, in our classrooms, serving our communities and building our future. We are praying, we are marching, we are speaking truth to power. Protecting young immigrants’ future is a moral duty and it’s a theological duty. An attack on immigrants is an attack on the church. That which President Trump does to these people, he does to Jesus.

Gerson Quinteros, DACA beneficiary:

DACA is a program that helped me and many youth have work permits, have less fear of deportation and get better opportunities. I got the opportunity to do something I love like coaching youth in soccer and swimming.

Claudia Quiñones, DACA beneficiary:

I am one of eight hundred thousand DACA beneficiaries whose lives have changed because of DACA. DACA does work.

Rabbi Esther Lederman, Director, Congregational Innovation, Union for Reform Judaism:

Our Torah commands ‘When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong…. And you shall love them as yourself.’ If the DACA program is not protected, 800,000 souls will lose the protection they need to live in our society without fear. We call on President Trump to maintain the DACA program, to ensure that people who call this country their home have the opportunity to thrive and give back.

Rev. Noel Andersen, National Grassroots Coordinator, Church World Service, Washington, DC:

Church World Service is working to mobilize thousands of congregations across the country to work in solidarity with undocumented youth. Our faith calls us to action to love our neighbor and build the kind of nation we want to be—where we welcome immigrants among us. This is why more than 1,600 faith leaders from many traditions signed onto the letter we are delivering to the White House today. We urge President Trump to defend DACA and ensure that the 800,000 young people who have found relief from deportation are protected. Our youth are our future and deserve nothing less.

Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, Syrian Community Network (Chicago, IL):

My faith mandates that I serve the immigrant and the refugee, to love my neighbor, to be an active citizen, to use my voice when my actions fall short. So here I am, here we are, immigrants and refugees, neighbors, active citizens, standing shoulder to shoulder using our voice to speak out.