The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) is an executive order issued by President Obama in 2012 that grants temporary legal status to those brought to the US as children. According to government figures, 787,580 people (known as "Dreamers") have been approved for the program.
They have been able to obtain driver's licenses, enroll in college and secure jobs. They also pay income taxes. The program doesn't give them a path to become U.S. citizens or even legal permanent residents. But they can apply to defer deportation and legally reside in the U.S. for two years. Then they can apply for renewal. Nearly 800,000 renewals have been approved since the program began.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced it would rescind the program in six months unless Congress and the president enact a law reviving it. The president believes that such legislation should originate with Congress, not the White House. Officials will no longer accept new applicants to the program, but protections for current DACA recipients remain in effect.
Two-thirds of American evangelicals favor giving work permits to Dreamers, while only 22 percent oppose such permits. Fifty-seven percent of evangelicals believe DACA recipients should be allowed to become citizens; 15 percent believe they should be allowed to become legal residents but not citizens; and 19 percent believe they should be deported.
How should we think biblically about this divisive issue? Three principles in Scripture are relative to the debate.
One: We should care for immigrants.
Scripture is clear: "You must neither wrong a foreigner nor oppress him, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt" (Ex. 22:21). Should our immigrants not receive compassion and support, especially if they are children brought into our country through no decision of their own?
Two: We should uphold the rule of law.
Scripture teaches, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities" (Rom. 13:1). Border security is a biblical priority (Prov. 22:28, 23:10; Deut. 32:8). While the Dreamers did not choose to come to America illegally, their parents made this decision for them. Does granting them citizenship reward the illegal actions of their parents?
Three: Children are not to be punished for the sins of their parents.
Ezekiel 18:20 states, "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the punishment of the iniquity of the father." Is it fair for us to deport the Dreamers for breaking immigration laws they did not choose to violate?
You can see why this is such a challenging dilemma. We should not reward the illegal actions of the parents of Dreamers, but we should not punish children for their parents' acts.
A middle approach relevant to this debate was proposed by President George W. Bush in 2004. He specified that illegal immigrants would pay a fee to enter "temporary worker status." Such a person could apply for citizenship but would be placed in line behind those who have already begun this process. Such a compromise could serve both Dreamers and the rule of law.
Of course, our ultimate biblical responsibility to Dreamers is to share God's dream with them. Our Father "desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4, ESV). No matter how people come to America, he wants them to come to Christ.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!
- Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
- Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
- God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
- Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
- HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!
Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details