Churches and other faith-based organizations around the country are planning Dream Sabbath events to build support for the Dream Act, a federal bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to the country as children.
The Dream Sabbath concept was introduced last July by Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois and religious leaders from a variety of faiths. The official Dream Sabbath dates are September 23-25, but events have already been held in some locations and more are scheduled throughout the fall, including early October events in Columbus and Dayton in Ohio.
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition has put together a Dream Sabbath toolkit available for free on the group’s website. The IIC toolkit includes templates for how to invite members of Congress and faith leaders to participate in events. It also includes a sample event program that includes opening and closing prayers, testimony and stories from Dream Act-eligibile students and a call to action.
Tony Stieritz, director of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati Social Action Office, told Cincinnati.com that passing immigration reform is a pressing matter of social justice. He said, “The Dream Act is most important in all of this because we recognize that the Dreamers throughout this country have known no other home than this country.”
Though it has repeatedly failed to pass Congress, the Dream Act was reintroduced by Sen. Durbin last spring and is currently being considered by Senate committees.