Protect the Dreamers, the Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) with a Pathway to Permanent Residence

This AIW expresses UUA support for the Dreamers and calls on Congress to pass legislation giving them a pathway to permanent residence. It also calls on UUs to support the Dreamers in their communities and contact their members of Congress to advocate for their protection.

Proposed by: Steve Eckstrand, partnering with Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ), Pablo DeJesus, executive director of UUSJ, & Terry Grogan, co-convener of the Immigration Action Team, UUSJ.

WHEREAS, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ) and many Unitarian Universalists hold that no human being is illegal and all merit treatment with inherent worth and dignity;

WHEREAS, Unitarian Universalists have a deep history passing Actions of Immediate Witness and Statements of Conscience in support of immigrants and a healthy immigration system;

WHEREAS, Immigrants and migrants are members of our families, our households, and our communities and are integral to the social and economic fabric of our society;

WHEREAS, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy that allows some undocumented immigrants, who were brought to the United States as children, to receive a two-year renewable period of deferred action from deportation and an employment authorization document (work permit) in the U.S.;

WHEREAS, DACA has provided temporary relief to more than 825,0000 undocumented immigrants since 2012;

WHEREAS, current DACA recipients (often referred to as Dreamers) have lived here for more than 15 years, and nearly 80% of them are employed, many in jobs deemed essential;

WHEREAS, DACA recipients have families here–more than 1.3 million people live with a DACA recipient, including more than 300,000 U.S.-born children who have at least one parent with DACA;

WHEREAS, DACA recipients make significant contributions to the U.S. economy— each year DACA recipient households pay $6.2 billion in federal taxes, $3.3 billion in state and local taxes, and, after taxes, have $25.3 billion in spending power;

WHEREAS, on July 16, 2021, a U.S. district court judge ruled that DACA violated the law and prohibited the government from accepting new applications to the program but allowed current recipients to keep their status while the case goes through the appeals process;

WHEREAS, on October 5, 2022, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that DACA is unlawful but returned the case to the district court for a decision on the current DACA policy;

WHEREAS, the U.S. district court heard oral arguments on DACA on June 1, 2023, and a decision is expected soon;

WHEREAS, since the federal courts have barred new applications for DACA, there are now hundreds of thousands of additional undocumented immigrants whose dreams for the future are in jeopardy;

WHEREAS, an ultimate court decision that DACA is illegal would disrupt the lives of millions of DACA recipients and family members,

WHEREAS, only Congress can provide a pathway to permanent residence for DACA recipients;


That the Unitarian Universalist Association supports the Dreamers and believes that they are valued members of our communities, as are other immigrant populations;

That the UUA calls on Congress to expeditiously pass legislation to provide Dreamers with a pathway to permanent residence;

That the UUA encourages its members to support the Dreamers in their communities and to communicate with their members of Congress to urge them to support legislation protecting the Dreamers;

That the UUA will be vocal and forward-leaning in its work to encourage members to deepen our theological grounding in issues of immigration justice; collaborate with local partners to combat anti-immigrant narratives, including those by state legislatures, and work with grassroots organizations/campaigns centering on those most directly affected by anti-immigration policies and other failures of the U.S. immigration system.

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DACA is a promise made, which must be kept. The “whereas’s” lay out good reasoning to adopt this AIW. Many concrete actions for involvement are suggested as guides for congregations. I am inclined to “yes” this one.


UUSJ is ready to help UUs push for this worthy cause. You can start helping defend Dreamers by taking this action: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

  • Our UUSJ Immigration Action Team volunteers are committed to comprehensive immigration reform. “We are in it for the long haul, not the loophole.”

  • We want to help your Congregation engage Congress. We have so much more power to influence outcomes when we act together.


The Dreamers are an integral part of an ever more diverse and growing multicultural U.S. Many were first responders and other essential workers. One great way to pay it forward is to stand in solidarity to defend and strengthen DACA.
Doing so aligns with our UU values, as well as UN human rights and child rights charters. Not only is it smart policy, it’s the right thing to do.
I urge delegates to take the best next step by supporting this AIW.
Pat Scheid, UUCSS and member of UUSJ Immigration Action Team


Children are innocent. DACA was conceived with this in mind and has protected many hundreds of thousands of young people as they have grown into adults who teach our children, care for our health, and often start businesses which hire others and create value in our country. Respecting DACA and offering all who came here as innocent children a way to become legal citizens is the moral path as well as the smart path. This is not the solution to all our immigration woes, but if Congress can come to a positive outlook on the future of Dreamers we will continue to fight for the dignity of all who labor in our country. Join us and speak to your congregation about calling their representatives in Washington D. C. about the need to regularize DACA recipients and to fight for comprehensive immigration reform! Georganne D’Angelo UUCWC


Most ‘Dreamers’ in the U.S. have waited long enough to be accepted as full members of our country, socially, emotionally, and legally. We need to help them in all these membership categories, but especially legally. We UUs must pass this AIW at the 2023 General Assembly.

-Pat Everly, UUF, Clinton, IA

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This UUCWC delegate has voted to include this AIW as one of the three to discuss and review for further Study and action.

Thanks for letting me know!

UUJEC statement in support:
The Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community, UUJEC, supports the Action of Immediate Witness Protect the Dreamers, the Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) with a Pathway to Permanent Residence. DACA has enabled roughly 833,000 eligible young adults to work lawfully, attend school, and plan their lives without the constant threat of deportation—usually to an unfamiliar country. According to the Migration Policy Institute, more than 1.3 million U.S. residents were eligible for DACA as originally implemented. The Center for American Progress (CAP) estimates that the average DACA recipient arrived in the United States in 1999 at the age of 7, with more than one-third of DACA recipients arriving before age 5.

DACA recipients have experienced pronounced upward socioeconomic mobility. A national survey of DACA recipients in 2019 found that almost 6 in 10 respondents moved on to a job with better pay, almost half moved to a job with better working conditions and just over that number moved to a job with health insurance or other benefits. Moreover, just over half of the respondents moved to a job that “better fits [their] education and training [or] long-term career goals.” In addition, a small but significant number of respondents started their own businesses or obtained professional licenses after receiving DACA.

It is clear that DACA recipients contribute to our society, benefitting their communities as well as themselves and their families. As they having made successful lives here, where they grew to adulthood, it would be unfair and unreasonable to deny them a pathway to permanent residence.

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