This is the text of Sister Janet’s September 2017 speech at the Solidarity Vigil in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Good evening everyone.
Over the last 5 years I have had the amazing opportunity and incredible privilege of getting to know many Dreamers and DACA Recipients in our community and the surrounding area as we’ve done the legal work to help them earn DACA and I have to say: This is a very sad day for all of us….especially for DACA recipients and DREAMERS.
It’s a sad day for our country because our President and his administration have made the cruel and heartless decision to turn their backs on young people whom the President promised to treat with “great heart.”
It’s a sad day because our President and his administration have turned their backs on hundreds of thousands of bright, talented and hard-working young people who have taken advantage of the doors that DACA has opened for them and who show so much promise for the future.
These are young people who have done nothing wrong themselves! THEY did NOT violate our law … and this decision to cancel DACA punishes young people for decisions and choices they did not make.
These are young people who put their trust in our government … who came forward at the invitation of our government, met strenuous requirements, passed criminal background checks and handed over their personal data to the government. They are already making very positive contributions to our communities. They are continuing their education in our schools … they are working in our local hospitals and banks and other businesses. Some of them are married now and raising children of their own. Across our country they are teachers and engineers and lawyers and nurses, construction workers and on, and on, and on. They now have drivers’ licenses, many have bought cars, some have bought a home, they are paying taxes and contributing to our economy … and all of them have begun to realize their dreams. They are American in every way except on paper!!
And now, our government, in whom they put their trust, wants to pull the rug out from under them and put all of this in jeopardy!!
This is more than a political issue to be conveniently used to appeal to one’s voters! This is a MORAL issue … this is about people’s lives. This is about how we treat each other, how we treat our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and friends and our young people. We who are here tonight recognize that a higher law calls us to treat each other with dignity and respect and love … a higher law calls us to be welcoming and compassionate … those of us here tonight, stand with Dreamers and DACA recipients … those who are here and the other hundreds of thousands across our nation.
Let’s be clear. DACA has NOT ended. It is on life-support and now it is time for Congress to do their job and do what’s right. It is up to Congress to get to work and pass a law that, once and for all, protects these valuable, hard-working young people
And it is up to all of us to call on our SD congressional delegation to rise above the partisan politics that have become the norm in Washington and to support bipartisan efforts to take care of Dreamers and DACA recipients.
Congress has until March 5 to get this done. And our SD senators and representative need to hear from us—they need to hear from YOU … and your family … and friends … co-workers … everyone you know who believes like you do that we are called to welcome our brothers and sisters and to treat each other with dignity and respect.