Hundreds of Catholic Faith Leaders Rally on Capitol Hill for Day of Action, 40 Arrested in Nonviolent, Prayerful Protest for a Clean Dream Act
Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, February 27th, 40 Catholic faith leaders were arrested in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience as they called on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act. Faith leaders were apprehended in the Russell Rotunda while praying for lawmakers to protect more than 800,000 immigrant youth from deportation without any further delay. To view a full list of arrestees, click here.
Thirty Catholic women from 6 states were among the arrestees.
The act of civil disobedience was preceded by a press conference during which Catholic leaders escalated their call for a clean Dream Act that protects young immigrants in danger of losing their protection from deportation and their ability to work legally. Several Catholic bishops were invited to attend and six publicly offered their words of support.
Sr. Elise García, Dominican Sister (Adrian, MI):
“Until now, I had never been arrested in my life. But with the blessing of my community, I joined with two dozen other Catholic Sisters and other Catholic allies today as an act of solidarity with our nation’s Dreamers. Members of Congress and President Trump have said they support the Dreamers and promised action. But they have failed to act. And that failure of moral leadership leaves hundreds of thousands of young men and women hanging in limbo, in danger of deportation from the only country they know as home. To our leaders in Congress and in the White House, I say: Arrest a Nun, not a Dreamer.”
John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life (Washington, DC):
“I’m inspired by the courage of Dreamers who are being used as political pawns by those in power. By participating in civil disobedience, I hope to play a role in awakening the conscience of Speaker Paul Ryan and other lawmakers who often claim to be guided by Christian values, but who seem indifferent to those the Gospel calls us to protect. Breaking up families and deporting immigrants who contribute to our country is immoral and unwise. It's time for a just solution that puts common sense and human dignity before fear mongering and cruel ideologies."
Judith Lynn Morris, Dominican Sisters of Peace (Louisville, KY):
“Scripture tells us to welcome the stranger. Catholic social teaching is consistent in that it calls us to action for the disenfranchised, the poor and those who are suffering from oppression. Today’s action provides us an avenue to do just that. ”
Sr. Tracy Kemme, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH):
“I was arrested today for the first time because this is a moral movement of truth and it is worth it to me to tell Congress that we need a clean Dream Act to protect our young immigrants and not harm their family and community members. This is so important, as a person of faith, the Catholic community is here in an outpouring today. Our faith tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. So this is my family I’m standing with today.”
Daniel Neri, a Dreamer, PICO federation Faith In Indiana:
“I don’t want to leave this country. I want to give back and help this country. My Catholic faith teaches that we are one body. Those are not merely word. What are we doing to the body of Christ when we are hurting families? Dreamers are not criminals. We are not rapists. We are good people. Let us all stand together, as one nation under God, with justice for all.”