Yesterday over twenty faith leaders across the state expressed their support for the DREAM Act in a statement sent to the North Carolina congressional delegation and our two senators. They come from various traditions, regions and denominations across the state. The statement has been published on the website of the North Carolina Council of Churches.

It reads:

ADVOCATES FOR THE DREAM ACT, DO JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

In the spirit of American morality, freedom, and justice, we, the undersigned leaders of religious institutions in North Carolina, endorse the DREAM Act, a clear, earned path to citizenship for students who are currently undocumented.

Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school, many at the top of their classes, but cannot go to college, join the military, work, or otherwise pursue their dreams. Caught in a system where there is little, if any, means for legalizing their status, smart, hard-working kids face an uncertain future. Having already been educated through the public school system, the loss of potential, productivity, and hope for these individuals is also a great loss for this country. The United States is missing out on talented workers and entrepreneurs, and is losing vital tax revenues and other economic contributions.

While we look forward to the eventual passage of comprehensive immigration reform, we believe that the status quo cannot be tolerated. We urge beginning immigration reform by strongly endorsing the DREAM Act, which will unlock the door to the American dream for thousands of young people each year. We were moved by the three students engaged in a lengthy hunger strike outside Senator Kay Hagan’s office seeking her support for the DREAM Act.

Recent American history documents that adult African-Americans, born into a segregated world and gradually included in a more open society, suffer the scars of racial oppression and injustice more deeply than African-American generations born after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As the Civil Rights Act offered new opportunities for African-Americans born after 1964, the DREAM Act offers the hope that new generations of immigrants will live in a future where their efforts and accomplishments will be accepted and valued in our country, and their contributions to American society welcomed.

Children brought to the United States by their families at a young age now know this country as their own. Many have no experience and little knowledge of their country of birth. We acknowledge that children and youth, regardless of heritage, sometimes make unwise choices that result in terrible consequences, and we strongly believe that all children and youth living in this country should be extended the right to work and succeed on their own merits. Undocumented students who were brought to this country by their parents should not be excluded from this just privilege.

The roots of all religious traditions that trace their origins to Abraham (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) hold hospitality, care of the oppressed, and justice for all peoples as high values. We believe the decency of the American people reflects these same ideals, and we strongly urge leaders of government and citizens everywhere to embrace a fair and positive direction for all of our young people. The DREAM Act alone will not solve our broken immigration system, but it will bring thousands of students out of the shadows.

The Rev. Dr. Leonard Bolick, Bishop, NC Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rev. Peter Carman, Pastor, Binkley Baptist Church

Ms. Barbara Campbell Davis, Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk, Presbytery of New Hope

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of NC

Rev. Clifton Daniel, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina

Bishop Larry Goodpaster, Resident Bishop, Western NC Conference, United Methodist Church

The Rev. Haywood Gray, General Baptist State Convention

Bishop Al Gwinn, Resident Bishop, NC Conference, United Methodist Church

Rev. Tommy Justus, Pastor, Mars Hill Baptist Church

The Rev. Sam Marshall III, General Presbyter, Presbytery of Salem

The Rev. Susan Parker, Pastor, Wake Forest Baptist Church

The Rev. Nancy Petty, Pastor, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church

Rev. Vertie Powers, Acting Conference Minister, Southern Conference, United Church of Christ

The Rev. John Richardson, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. George Reed, Executive Director, NC Council of Churches

The Rev. Dr. Sam Roberson, General Presbyter/Stated Clerk, Presbytery of Charlotte

The Rev. Dr. Steve Shoemaker, Pastor, Myers Park Baptist Church

The Rev. David Walker, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Coastal Carolina

The Rev. Bobbi White, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Western NC

The Rev. Mel Williams, Pastor, Watts St. Baptist Church

Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, National Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches

–George Reed, Executive Director

An article ran in the American Independent about the announcement. Read it here.

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