RESOLVED: The 180th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis issues a call for prayer, study and action to members of the diocesan household so that they may help to shape the debates surrounding immigration and DACA. These debates, which frame our common lives in church and society, are an opportunity to incorporate our stated and long-held commitment as followers of Jesus and as Episcopalians to protect the most vulnerable people among us, especially children, young adults, strangers and aliens.

RESOLVED: Furthermore, the Convention asks individuals, small groups and/or congregations to call upon members of Congress to take action to protect these young people (frequently called “Dreamers”), and to collaborate on a bi-partisan basis to construct a humane comprehensive immigration policy.

EXPLANATION:

  1. Deferred action is a term that describes the deferral of deportation for individuals who have particularly compelling cases. Going back to the mid-1970’s, this action has been used by other presidents, including George W. Bush. The DACA deferred action was instituted in 2012 by President Obama. The average age of DACA beneficiaries when they were transported to the United State was 6 years. They had no agency in the decision, and for many of them, the US is their primary country of identification and affiliation.(Source: 10/9/17 guest column in the Bloomington Herald-Times by Ms. Christine Popp of Bloomington, an immigration lawyer with Popp & Bullman, Attorneys-at-Law).
  2. In their Sept. 5, 2017th joint statement, the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House Deputies called all of us to remember our “decades-long commitment to walking with immigrants and refugees, and that we are called to protect strangers and protect aliens.” They also called us to act by urging Congress to act on behalf of the Dreamers and other immigrants. (cf. Matthew 25:35 and 25:43; Leviticus 19:33-35; and Baptismal Covenant in BCP 1979. We acknowledge that people in this diocese, as well as other dioceses, are not of one mind about the Dreamers of how to proceed
  3. We acknowledge that there is a diversity of opinion within the diocese in regard to the Dreamers. Within the US, there is wide-spread support among the electorate to help DACA recipients. According to a national tracking poll conducted this spring, 78% of all voters support giving Dreamers the chance to stay permanently in the US, while 14% favored deportation. (Source: Morning Consult Politics, National Tracking Poll #170409, April 20-24, 2017).
  4. In Indiana, 18,341 DACA applications were accepted as of June 30, 2016. Of this total, 16,299 applications had been approved by this date. (Source: US Citizenship, Immigration Services #1-821-D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals by Fiscal Year, Quarter, Intake, Biometrics & Case Status, 2012-2016 (June 30, 2016).
  5. It is estimated that 2.1 million persons might qualify for DACA. Research indicates that an estimated 65,000 undocumented immigrants graduate each year from high school, while only 10,000 DACA recipients graduate yearly from college. (Source: Educators for Faith Consideration, www.e4fc.org).
  6. In Indiana, it is estimated that 2,000 DACA recipients are enrolled in our colleges and universities. According to institutional research, within the IU system there are 243 students participating as known DACA recipients across all IU campuses. This reflects an increase from 203 students last fall. The IU Bloomington campus has 24 of DACA students, up from 17 last fall. (Source: “DACA Supporters at IU: Some Fear, No Panic,” in The Herald Times Bloomington, 9/6/17).
  7. It is estimated that DACA has provided a way for 800,000 young people who have lived in the US since childhood to come forward, pass background checks, join the labor force and pay taxes, and contribute to families and communities. (Source: US Citizenship, Immigration Services #1-821-D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, by Fiscal Year, Quarter, Intake, Biometrics and Case Status Fiscal Year 2012-2017 (US Department of Homeland Security, 2017). It is significant that the personal information the “Dreamers” shared in the coming-forward process might be used against them and their families now if DACA policies are rescinded. That would be a betrayal of the trust they had placed in our government and would result in a return to lives of fear and secrecy.
  8. The top five countries of origin for immigrants are: Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Korea. (Source: Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, June 2016 – most up-to-date estimate data).

Resolution Sponsor: The Diocesan Commission on Ministry in Higher Education

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