President Walter on DACA and the Way Forward

CHICAGO, IL (September 7, 2017) – I join with other Christian leaders in expressing deep concern around the future of immigrant young people currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA participants encompass roughly 800,000 young adults who have really only known the United States as home, having arrived here as minors. To have enrolled in DACA means each one stepped forward in good faith, submitting to screening for both criminal activity and national security. DACA participants are fellow Covenanters, neighbors, university students (including some at North Park), taxpayers, and friends who also generate jobs, goods, and services for all Americans.

And now, in the immediacy of White House action to sunset DACA protections in six months unless there is legislative action by Congress, DACA participants face cavernous uncertainty and fear. This is essentially the only country they have ever known. Now they must wonder if the only country they have ever known will honor the commitments made.

Immigration matters have long begged for a comprehensive legislative solution. Perhaps DACA can now be the catalyst. It is unconscionable that leadership from Washington across parties, across administrations, and across both houses of Congress has repeatedly failed to find a thorough way forward. Now is the time for both Capitol Hill and the White House to find a comprehensive course, a way that morally keeps promises made to DACA participants.

We remember our own Swedish immigrant roots as a denomination. And as people of the Book, we remember time after time that Scripture instructs us that how we treat the refugee, the foreigner, the newcomer speaks to how we represent God. From the Hebrew Exodus to Jesus escaping to Egypt, the very story of the people of God is profoundly marked by safety found in the journey to somewhere else. The longing of DACA participants and their families reminds us of that reality still.


  • C. John Weborg

    C. John Weborg is professor emeritus of theology at North Park Theological Seminary. A longtime columnist for the Companion, he handwrites his columns and is a train enthusiast. He lives in Princeton, Illinois, where he attends the Covenant church there.

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