Washington, DC – Last week, Muslim Advocates and the law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of 87 religious groups and organizations representing or working with faith communities asking the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York to suspend the government’s planned termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The brief was filed in the two consolidated cases of Batalla Vidal v. Duke and State of New York v. Trump.
In their brief, the religious groups call the DACA program “a just and compassionate response to a moral and humanitarian crisis” and outline three major arguments:
“First, DACA recipients are vital members of amici’s congregations and workforces whose loss of status will not only disrupt their lives, but harm amici who benefit from their participation.
Second, termination of the DACA program will impair the ability of amici and other religious or religiously-affiliated organizations to carry out their missions to help people of all backgrounds and faiths.
Third, as institutions of faith and sensitive locations for immigration enforcement purposes, many amici face the grim prospect that following their spiritual calling to provide sanctuary for targeted Dreamers will result in the religious entities themselves being targeted by immigration enforcement authorities, a concern that would increase dramatically with the termination of DACA.”
“People from every faith tradition, with ties to any religious community or house of worship, should take a clear-eyed look at what is at stake here,” said Sirine Shebaya, a senior staff attorney for Muslim Advocates. “The DACA program is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Americans from all walks of life and faith traditions. Its termination is having a devastating impact on both immigrants and US 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.”
The brief highlights stories of directly impacted congregants who would be at risk of deportation without DACA, including Nancy, an associate rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach, California, Rafael, an office assistant at the New Mexico Faith Coalition, and Andrea, a legal assistant at the American Friends Service Committee.
A full list of signers is below:
Albuquerque Insight Meditation Center; Albuquerque Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); The American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists; American Friends Service Committee; Ansche Chesed, New York City; Arch Street United Methodist Church; Capital Area Muslim Bar Association; Catholic Charities Community Services of the Archdiocese of New York; 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; Congregation B’nai Jeshurun (New York City); Congregation Beit Simchat Torah; Council of Churches of the City of New York; Council on American-Islamic Relations – Michigan Chapter; Council of American-Islamic Relations – New Jersey Chapter; Council of American-Islamic Relations – New York Chapter; Cuba Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Church, USA), Cuba, New Mexico; Degrees of Change; DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network; Dominican Development Center; East End Temple (New York City); Emgage Foundation; 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 Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Santa Fe, New Mexico; First Congregational United Church of Christ (Albuquerque, New Mexico); First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe, New Mexico; First Presbyterian Church of Taos, New Mexico; First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn; First United Presbyterian Church of Las Vegas, New Mexico; Global Justice Institute; Immanuel Presbyterian Church (Albuquerque, New Mexico); Interfaith Alliance of Iowa; Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ; Islamic Society of Basking Ridge; Islamic Society of Central Jersey; Lab/Shul; Legal Advocacy Project of Unitarian Universalist FaithAction of New Jersey; 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 of New York; New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia; New York Board of Rabbis; New York Conference United Church of Christ; Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ; Presbytery of New York City; Queens Federation of Churches; Religious Institute; Romemu; Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); Second Presbyterian Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Sikh Coalition; Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom; Society for the Advancement of Judaism; St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (Albuquerque, New Mexico); St. Stephens’ Episcopal Church in Boston; T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights; 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; Visitation BVM Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; West End Synagogue (New York City); Westminster Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe; and Women of Reform Judaism.
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.