Baptist leaders are encouraging constituents to call their elected representatives on March 1 to urge them to pass legislation that protects "Dreamers" from deportation and provides a path to citizenship.
"Baptists don't have to agree about everything to agree on some things, and surely we can agree that we need to help protect Dreamers. Let's be practical and proactive and get something done together for the common good," said Samuel C. Tolbert Jr., president of the National Baptist Convention of America International Inc.
Dreamers are individuals who were brought to the U.S. years ago when they were children, often by their parents.
Inspired by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops call-in day on Feb. 26, U.S. Baptist leaders issued today the following statement:
"Baptists have a deep-seated faith and conviction that compels us to advocate for the powerless and marginalized. Following the teachings of Jesus Christ, Baptists champion the human rights of all people as to where divine justice may be sought after and enacted on behalf of the ostracized. Baptists across the United States are calling upon members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to pass a clean DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, in order for Dreamers to remain in the United States, protecting them from deportation and providing them a pathway to citizenship, before the deadline of March 5, 2018."
Sponsoring signatories are:
- Jackie Baugh-Moore, vice president, Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation
- Elijah Brown, general secretary, Baptist World Alliance
- Paula Dempsey, director of partnership relations, Alliance of Baptists
- Jeffrey Haggray, executive director, American Baptist Home Mission Societies
- Larry Hovis, executive coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina
- LeDayne McLeese Polaski, executive director / directora ejecutiva, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America ~ Bautistas por la Paz
- Hannah McMahan, executive director, New Baptist Covenant
- Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
- Mitch Randall, executive director, EthicsDaily.com
- Lee B. Spitzer, general secretary, American Baptist Churches USA
- Samuel C. Tolbert Jr., president, National Baptist Convention of America International Inc.
- Pam Durso, executive director, Baptist Women in Ministry
- Steve Graham, coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma
- John V. Upton Jr., executive director, Baptist General Association of Virginia
"The global Baptist community has long been associated with advocating with and for the marginalized. Born out of that same plight, Baptists understand the consequences of unjust laws and the sting of cultural ostracism," said R. Mitch Randall, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics / EthicsDaily.com. "Therefore, Baptists within the United States are joining together to add our voices to those of the Dreamers who have courageously shared their stories and called people of faith to action. On March 1, 2018, it is my honor and privilege to join Baptist clergy and laity in calling our elected officials and demanding protection for Dreamers."
"Welcoming immigrants from around the world has strengthened the United States in innumerable ways. My own family passed through Ellis Island in stages generations ago, dreaming of a new life, free from persecution," said Lee B. Spitzer. "In the name of Jesus, I urge Baptists to support a new generation of Dreamers, who already live among us."
You can find information about your representatives and how to contact them at GovTrack.us