PCUSA Leaders Arrested and Bishop President Stowe Speaks at “Catholic Day of Action with Dreamers”

Pax Christi USA attended the “Catholic Day of Action with Dreamers” yesterday including the Mass led by PCUSA Bishop President John Stowe followed by prayer and civil disobedience.

Jean Stokan (far left) leads procession of the 42 Catholic leaders intending to be arrested in the Russell Senate building rotunda.

Forty-two nonviolent arrests of Catholic leaders took place in the Russell Senate building rotunda. Among those arrested were PCUSA national council members Gerry Lee and Jean Stokan and Teacher of Peace, Art Laffin.

All were advocating that the Dream Act be passed now. March 5 is the day Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) expires; therefore, Congress needs to pass a bill that allows for a clean pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Otherwise, they will continue to live in fear and will be without basic rights like protection from being deported and the ability to have a driver’s license, apply for school loans, or legally obtain a job.

The lack of action by Congress, and the choice to terminate DACA by the president is a severe affront to the dignity of Dreamers. They are human beings, and their dignity is much more important than the country of their births.

During his homily yesterday, Bishop Stowe spoke about the human rights of all Dreamers and said, “We are born with them [human rights], and we are given them by our creator.”

Bishop President of PCUSA, John Stowe, speaks to the crowd of advocates for the Dream Act.

Stowe also called upon Congress by quoting Scripture, “Cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim” (IS 1:16-17). Congress needs to make justice their priority, cease the fear inflicted upon families who have undocumented members, and create a clean pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

The “Catholic Day of Action with Dreamers” was a powerful witness to not only the human dignity of Dreamers but also to how much we need one another to stay together. Dreamers have been with us for years, this country is their home, they are integral members of society, and we don’t want them to be forced out.