September 21, 2017
This morning a full-page advertisement ran in the national edition of the New York Times. It was signed by three presiding bishops – current and former – and over 125 Episcopal bishops. This statement is directed to the President and Congress and makes the biblical case for the Dream Act.
Commonwealth bishops include:
- The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop Diocesan Western Massachusetts
- The Rt. Rev. Gordon P. Scruton, Bishop Diocesan Western Massachusetts retired
- The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan Massachusetts
- The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan Massachusetts
- The Rt. Rev. Bud Cederholm, Bishop Suffragan Massachusetts retired
The full text of the ad follows below.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers
for by doing so, some have entertained angels unawares.”
President Donald Trump and Members of Congress,
As bishops of the Episcopal Church we implore you not to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. To do so would endanger the lives of thousands of young people and their families and run contrary to the faith and moral traditions of our country.
It is unfair to threaten the well-being of young people who arrived in our country as children through no choice of their own. Ending DACA without a similar replacement program will force these young people to face the future in this country with little
access to education and employment, and ultimately, could very well lead to sending them to countries where they did not grow up, have few support structures, may not even speak the language and may be vulnerable to violence and persecution.
Any of these scenarios, we believe, is cruel.
The alternative for us as a country is to move forward, to celebrate and benefit from the presence of these ‘Dreamers’ and to provide a pathway to citizenship that enables them to remain and strengthen our country.
The Episcopal Church has long advocated for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reforms that prioritize family unity and humanitarian concerns. It is time for Congress to develop long-term solutions for immigrant families.
In front of most of the Episcopal Churches across the country is a sign that says, ‘The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.’ We have this sign because we are followers of the way of Jesus of Nazareth, and our Christian tradition shares with many other faith
bodies the absolute importance of welcoming the foreigner in our midst. Throughout the centuries this tradition has brought us great wisdom and strength as the foreigner among us has become a part of the fabric of our country’s life.
In recent years, our congregations throughout the United States have witnessed firsthand the benefits that the young ‘Dreamers’have brought to our community programs and life. We have been inspired by, and gained much from, their American spirit.
We urge you to enact permanent, meaningful legislation that will protect ‘Dreamers’ and enable these young people to remain a
part of our country—which is also theirs.
We are grateful to the Diocese of New York for access to the pdf.