Washington, DC – This week the law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of 119 religious groups and organizations representing or working with faith communities asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to suspend the government’s planned termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The brief was filed in Regents of University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
In the brief, the religious groups define the DACA program as a “compassionate and appropriate response to the humanitarian crisis posed by the hundreds of thousands of undocumented people brought to this country as children, before they could make choices of their own” and outline three core arguments about how DACA termination would affect religious and faith communities:
“First, amici stand to lose the substantial benefits they currently enjoy as a result of the varied contributions that DACA recipients make to their congregations and institutions.
Second, if the Termination Memo is carried out and DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals are forced into hiding, amici will suffer an impairment of their ability to carry out their core mission to provide spiritual guidance and general assistance to people of all backgrounds and faiths.
Third, many amici have and will continue to offer sanctuary to those facing deportation. Amici’s churches, mosques, and synagogues are ostensibly designated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) as sensitive locations to be avoided by enforcement officials, but ICE has shown a growing willingness to target and exploit, rather than avoid, sensitive locations. Amici will be on the front line of this conflict if DACA is rescinded: honoring their convictions to protect DACA recipients will risk ICE raids on or around their houses of worship.”
According to Sirine Shebaya, Senior Staff Attorney for Muslim Advocates, “President Trump, when he terminated the DACA program, gave Congress six months to fix a burgeoning humanitarian crisis. Now, with that deadline in the rearview mirror and no permanent solution in sight, DACA-recipients are in a legal limbo and are facing uncertain futures. This is causing immense disruption to faith communities all over the United States. The DACA program is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Its termination is devastating both immigrants and U.S. citizens, many of whom have family members who benefit from the program. That is why we are urging the court to hold the government to its word to protect these Americans.”
A full list of signers is below:Albuquerque Insight Meditation Center; Albuquerque Mennonite Church; Albuquerque Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); The American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists; American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York; American Friends Service Committee; Ansche Chesed, New York City; Arch Street United Methodist Church; Association of Muslim American Lawyers; Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC; Campus Ministry of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York at Hostos and Bronx Community College of City University of New York; Capital Area Muslim Bar Association; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Stockton; Catholic Charities Community Services of the Archdiocese of New York; Catholic Legal Immigrant Network, Inc.; Catholic Legal Services, Archdiocese of Miami, Inc.; Central Conference of American Rabbis; Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ; Church Council of Greater Seattle; Church of Our Redeemer in Lexington, Massachusetts; Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador (Cincinnati, Ohio); Congregation B’nai Israel of Sacramento; Congregation B’nai Jeshurun (New York City); Congregation Beit Simchat Torah; Congregation Beth Elohim (Brooklyn, NY); Congregation Shaarei Shamayim (Madison, Wisconsin); Council of Churches of the City of New York; Council on American-Islamic Relations – California Chapter; Council on American-Islamic Relations – Michigan Chapter; Council of American-Islamic Relations – New Jersey Chapter; Council of American-Islamic Relations – New York Chapter; Council on American-Islamic Relations – Oklahoma Chapter; Cuba Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Church, USA), Cuba, New Mexico; Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul; Degrees of Change; DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network; Dominican Development Center; East End Temple (New York City); El Paso Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends; Emgage; Episcopal City Mission; Episcopal Dioceses of Massachusetts; Episcopal Diocese of New York; Episcopal Dioceses of Western Massachusetts; Episcopal Society of Christ Church/The Christ Church Cathedral, Cincinnati, Ohio; Faith Action Network; First Congregational United Church of Christ (Albuquerque, New Mexico); First Presbyterian Church of Taos, New Mexico; First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn; First United Presbyterian Church of Las Vegas, New Mexico; Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Barbara; Global Justice Institute; Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ; Hispanic Apostolate of the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge; Hispanic Connection of Southern Indiana; Hyattsville Mennonite Church; ICNA Council for Social Justice; Interfaith Alliance of Iowa; Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ; Islamic Circle of North America; Islamic Society of Basking Ridge; Islamic Society of Central Jersey; Lab/Shul; Leadership Conference of Women Religious; Legal Advocacy Project of Unitarian Universalist FaithAction of New Jersey; Living Interfaith Church of Lynnwood, WA; Lutheran Social Services of New York (LSSNY); Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns; Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Muslim Advocates; Muslim Bar Association of New York; Muslim Public Affairs Council; Muslim Urban Professionals (Muppies); Muslims for Peace, Inc.; Muslims for Progressive Values; National Council of Jewish Women; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; New Jersey Interfaith Coalition; New Mexico Conference of Churches; New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice; New Sanctuary Coalition; New Sanctuary CT; New York Board of Rabbis; New York Conference United Church of Christ; Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ; Oregon Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice; Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ; Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Presbytery of the Pacific; Presentation Sisters at Caminando Juntos; Province of St. Mary of the Capuchin Order; Queens Federation of Churches; Religious Institute; Romemu; Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); Sikh Coalition; Society for the Advancement of Judaism; Southern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ; Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ; St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico; St. Francis Community Services / Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach; St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Boston; St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church (Albuquerque, NM); Stephen Wise Free Synagogue; T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights; Temple Israel of Hollywood (CA); Temple Israel of the City of New York; Temple Sinai (Washington, DC); Town and Village Synagogue, New York, New York; Trinity Church Wall Street; Union for Reform Judaism, including Reform Jewish Voice of New York State; Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network; United Methodist Women; University Christian Ministry at Northwestern University; Visitation BVM Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; West End Synagogue (New York City); Westminster Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe; and Women of Reform Judaism.
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