As members of the clergy serving various Christian denominations in Walla Walla, we urge them to act in a just and humane way toward undocumented immigrants who arrived in our country as children (“Dreamers”). We ask that you pass legislation that allows them to remain here in the United States with a pathway to citizenship.
This is a moral matter that should be untainted by politics. Some of their colleagues in Congress might wish to use Dreamers’ uncertain fate as a bargaining chip to win concessions against political opponents, especially at the imperilment of Dreamers’ parents or any other immigrant. McMorris Rodgers, Cantwell and Murray should choose a more humane path.
We see that our faith compels us not only to welcome as fellow citizens those who come to our nation from a foreign land (Leviticus 19:34) but to treat them as if they are Christ himself (Matthew 25:34-40). This is not an incidental commandment from our God of love and justice.
Immigrants so often are fleeing violence or hardship, and too often meet only scorn from those with whom they seek a new home. Many of our forebears experienced this firsthand, if we ourselves have not. We are called as Christians to do better than cast out immigrants working to improve their and their families’ lives.
We know the three members of congress can help.
Please pass the bipartisan DREAM Act 2017 (S. 1615, H.R. 3440) at the first opportunity. Dreamers receive overwhelming and justified public support.
In Walla Walla they are our congregants, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and lifelong friends — if not ourselves. Their fates here in the only country they know as home should not hang in the balance one moment longer.
This open letter is on behalf of myself, Rev. Nathaniel Mahlberg and two dozen Walla Walla-area clergy — Rev. Andrew Cooley, Rev. Juli Reinholz, Pastor Manuel Juarez, Rev. Jane Gober, Pastor Kris Loewen, Pastor Lois Blackwelder, Rev. Matt Babcock, Rev. Peter Brick, Cesar Linares Estevez, Rev. Chuck Hindman, Rev. Zachary Taylor, Rev. Adam Kirtley, Rev. Marj Johnston, Rev. Cecelia Mckean, Rev. Dorothy Knudson, Rev. Ernie Campbell, Rev. Martha Hurlburt, Rev. Steven Wooley, Rev. Randy Klassen, Rev. Robert Frye, Pastor Sarita McCaw, Todd Oleson and Pastor Leslie Bumgarner.