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15 Religious Leaders Arrested in Senate Building While Calling on Congress to Pass a Clean Dream Act


November 1, 2017


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202)735-7123

Sara Benitez, sbenitez@faithinpubliclife.org, (202)280-9284

15 Religious Leaders Arrested in Senate Building While Calling on Congress to Pass a Clean Dream Act

WASHINGTON, DC — On Wednesday, November 1st, 15 interfaith clergy and community leaders from across the country were arrested in the Russell Senate Office Building while participating in a nonviolent protest for a clean Dream Act.

Prior to the arrest, religious leaders held a press conference at the House Triangle attended by Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Juan Vargas (CA-51) to call on Members of Congress to pass a clean Dream Act before the end of the year.

These actions come in response to President Trump’s cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected nearly 800,000 immigrant youth who could be swept up in the deportation pipeline if Congress doesn’t pass legislation before it expires. Dreamers and their families cannot afford to wait until 2018 and need legislation by December 8th, 2017.

For a full list of those arrested, click here. To watch a livestream of the arrests click here.

Reactions from clergy arrested in nonviolent act of civil disobedience:

Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director, Refugee & Immigration Ministries, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada:

“I am moved to action by the determination of dreamers to dedicate their lives for the good of their families and communities. I am motivated by the historic saints to deepen my own courage to stand with dreamers in solidarity. I am inspired by my faith that, when we dare to take risks for justice, we help create a path of fresh hope, step by step. I am committed to doing all that I can to support the passage of a clean Dream Act. And, in honor of families facing separation far too often through detention and deportation, I submit to arrest today with the prayer that I can honor my own father, who died three decades ago on All Saints Day.”

Rev. Kate Shaner, Minister of Mission, First Community Church (Columbus, OH):

“As a follower of Jesus, my sacred text speaks of being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who surround and strengthen our paths forward. On this day, I stand in collective witness and solidarity with my immigrant/refugee brothers and sisters and my brothers and sisters of faith, as we seek God’s justice and shalom for all people.”

William Almodovar, Pastor, Casa del Alfarero Christian Church (Disciples of Christ):

“In conversation with one of the church youth and answering to the question, who was going to be in charge of a particular project? the answer “I will, if I don’t, then who” if we didn’t come and we didn’t represent God and our people here, then who.”

Paul Campbell, Youth and Community Based Ministries Pastor at Overflow (Benton Harbor, MI):

“We have not upheld the great commandment to love our neighbor. When we love our immigrant brothers and sisters we participate in the amazing opportunity to be the neighbors Christ calls us to be.”

Reactions from participants who spoke during the press conference (NOT ARRESTED)

Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life (Washington, D.C.):

“It is my faith that compels me to stand in solidarity with Dreamers. It is my faith that is rooted in dignity, family and justice, and I refuse to sit idly by while hundreds of thousands of young people’s futures are stolen. I pray that the Christians in Congress have the backbone to pass a clean Dream Act that protects the futures of young American immigrants.”

Greisa Martinez, Director of Advocacy, United We Dream (Washington, D.C.):

“We fight for a clean Dream Act by the end of the year because we do not believe that the immoral thugs of the Border Patrol and ICE should get billions in ransom to secure my freedom.  The faith leaders taking action here today are models for the solidarity and courage that is needed as immigrants, refugees, Black people, people of color, women and people who identify as LGBTQ are under attack by the government.”

Bishop Minerva Carcaño, United Methodist Church, Resident Bishop in the California-Nevada Annual Conference (Sacramento, CA):

“A Clean Dream Act will begin to heal the wounds that have for too long been unjustly and inhumanely inflicted upon undocumented young people and their families. It will do them much good.  But not as much good as finally fully welcoming undocumented young people will have upon the soul of this country, a country that once truly believed in the American Dream. I pray our Congress, the Trump Administration and all of us will join young undocumented immigrants in reclaiming the American Dream. Let us work for the passage of a Clean Dream Act now, before this year ends. Undocumented young people and their families have waited too long and suffered too much. God will be our help.”

Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim, Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.):

“We must affirm our commitment to stand together as a united force for all those who live amongst us. Dreamers are ideal Americans who deserve the chance to continue living in America without the constant fear of deportation. We have to believe that love, compassion, and selflessness, have ultimate greater power than hate, enmity and self interest. Because of all of this, we have a moral urgency to pass the Dream Act before the end of the year.”

Jim Wallis, President and Founder of Sojourners, (Washington, D.C.):

“In Matthew 25, Jesus calls us to welcome the stranger. That is our duty as Christians, which means that this is more than a political or policy debate – it is deeply moral, biblical and theological. As people of faith, we call on Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act before the end of this year – a DREAM Act free from increased funding for ICE raids or a shameful border wall. These young Americans deserve clarity, not confusion.”

Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens, General Minister and President, Disciples of Christ (Indianapolis, IN):

“I continue to mourn for the wound that was opened in the hearts of the more than three quarters of a million youth and their families when DACA was ended in September. Our faith compels us to support the well-being and healing of those who offer their gifts generously to our nation. We therefore urge immediate passage of the Dream Act of 2017 by Congress, which would offer stability to the lives of immigrant leaders. We are committed to continuing work for compassionate immigration reforms that can support family unity, offer a stable future to hardworking immigrants, and enable them to fully utilize their God-granted gifts without fears of deportation.”

Patrick Carolan, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network (Washington, D.C.):

“We are called by our faith to welcome the stranger. Pope Francis stated, ‘every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity to have an encounter with Jesus.’”


Faith in Public Life is a strategy center for the faith community advancing faith in the public square as a powerful force for justice, compassion and the common good.

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