On Thursday, March 1 at 11:00 a.m., 30 community members gathered alongside DACA recipients and the president of Xavier University to call on our local members of Congress to support a clean Dream Act. Following the failure of a bipartisan Senate proposal two weeks ago, and with the coming expiration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on March 5th, Congress must get back to work immediately to protect hundreds of thousands of Dreamers from losing protection from deportation and work permits.
José Cabrera, a DACA recipient and senior at Xavier University said, “We want a clean Dream Act, we do not want a DACA fix. We want a clean Dream Act that will give us a pathway to citizenship. A clean Dream Act that will not put any of our family members in danger.” Heyra Avila, another DACA recipient, echoed Cabrera’s sentiment by saying, “I don’t want my DACA if it means that my parents will face risk of deportation.”
Samantha Searls, Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, explained, “DACA recipients are in school and they have deadlines for their projects so we need to set a good example for our students and make sure that Congress meets the deadline that has been set for them.”
Fr. Michael Graham, SJ, president of Xavier University spoke in support of a clean Dream Act saying, “Beyond this being a common sense nonpartisan cause, it’s a moral issue and a profoundly moral issue. Our stand here at Xavier is grounded not just in our own sense of what is right and wrong, as a Catholic Jesuit university, but also in church teaching.”
On Tuesday, three Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati traveled to Washington, DC to be part of a Catholic Day of Action for Dreamers. Sr. Andrea Koverman framed their decision to participate: “You might think that women who take a vow of obedience would not intentionally break the law, but there is a higher calling than the law of man. We have been taught from Jesus himself that when the laws of man do not align with the laws of God, that we have a moral obligation not to comply. We made the choice to engage in civil disobedience and were arrested in the rotunda with about 40 others.”
When asked why he decided to stand up and speak about DACA, Fr. Graham said “We are a university. As a university we welcome students who come to us from all kinds of different circumstances in their past. We know them up close and personal as talented people who have great futures ahead of them, and enormous amounts to offer the world.”