The White House is enlisting faith groups to help fight for the approval of the DREAM Act, a law that would provide a path to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants who serve in the military or attend college.
On Thursday, the Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships put together a conference call with religious leaders who support passage of the DREAM Act (the acronym stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors). The bill passed the House of Representatives but is still waiting for the Senate to vote on it. As the clock ticks toward the end of this session, chances of passing the legislation are waning — and with a stronger Republican presence in next Congress, passing the DREAM Act will be even harder.
On the White House conference call, which was led by Joshua DuBois, director of the faith-based office, representatives of Christian and Jewish denominations spoke in favor of the Act and promised the support of their religious communities. Rabbi Jack Moline, director of public policy at the Rabbinical Assembly, was on the line and offered biblical backing for approving the legislation. Moline said the Bible expresses strongly the value of remembering the story of the Israelites who lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. “Holiday metaphors are overused,” Moline concluded, but still went on to say that in this season of festivals of light, “Congress has an opportunity to light a candle in the darkness.”
The DREAM Act is an easy sell to the Jewish community. Most Jewish groups dealing with domestic issues have expressed their support and are lobbying for its passage. Jewish organizations would actually want to see Congress go much further in pushing forward a comprehensive immigration reform, a goal that’s now looking harder to reach.
Faith Leaders Back the DREAM
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.