1. Press Release
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

Faith Leaders to DHS: Bring Juan Back Home

April 19, 2017


Washington D.C. - Following news that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary Juan Manuel Montes was deported, faith leaders join the #JusticeforJuan campaign to demand answers and call for his return home.

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary for the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) said, “Juan’s deportation is a devastating example of why indiscriminate immigration enforcement at the direction of the executive branch is creating chaos and fear in immigrant communities. Friends Committee on National Legislation stands in solidarity with Juan, other DACA recipients, and all undocumented immigrants who are waiting on Congress to provide tangible, workable solutions for all to meaningfully and equitably contribute to U.S. communities. In the wake of Juan’s wrongful deportation, we call on Congress to seek answers as to how and why Juan was deported as a DACA recipient and put in place congressional protection for DACA recipients immediately. Congress must take back its legislative power and refuse to fund additional enforcement personnel who will only wreak havoc in the absence of meaningful oversight and eventual immigration reform.”

Rev. John L. McCullough, CWS President and CEO, said: “The deportation of Juan is a moral outrage. Deporting a young man who should have been protected by DACA is wrong, and the CWS network is joining the call for answers to his deportation and for his return back to his home, here. CWS is strongly committed to standing with all of our immigrant brothers and sisters, including undocumented young people. This deportation is worrisome for the hundreds of thousands of young people who are DACA recipients. If the administration cannot ensure their protection, Congress must put in place measures that will. We call on all Members of Congress to champion legislation that would allow Juan and all of our undocumented community members to remain in the United States. We also urge Congress to reject President Trump’s funding requests to increase detention, deportation and border militarization. We pray that legislators remember the common values we all aspire to, which is the most basic of Sunday school lessons: to love our neighbors. There is much that is unknown right now, but what we do know is that God has called us to welcome our immigrant brothers and sisters -- CWS will continue to do just this.”

Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ said, "The United Church of Christ has been walking alongside young undocumented youth in our congregations and we are outraged to see the administration targeting these young people who should be protected by DACA. We call on Congress to deny President Trump any funding for this immoral deportation machine which will continue to separate families and threaten people like Juan who are making our communities and congregations stronger."

Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World said, “Detaining and deporting young Dreamers like Juan Manuel Montes will not fix our broken immigration system. The U.S. government should not pursue policies that tear families apart. Nor should we detain or deport away young people who came to the U.S. as children. Congress must act to protect Dreamers like Juan Montes and we must work together to solve the underlying challenges of our broken immigration system. Fixing this broken system is a step to ending hunger.”

Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Executive Director of the Office of Public Witness, Presbyterian Church (USA) remarked, "The Trump Administration's escalation of deportation is inhumane. Every deportation is something to be lamented, because it means one family, community, congregation member torn from the people they love and the place they call home. It is even more devastating for DREAMers like Juan, who may have few ties to their countries of origin. Let us love our neighbors by holding this administration accountable to its promise to protect DREAMERs. If they will not keep that promise, we call on Congress to refuse any funding request that would result in more deportations and detentions."

Rachel Gore Freed, Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) said, “ICE’s deportation of DACA-recipient Juan Manuel Montes is an unprecedented and willful violation of both current policy and our moral foundation. If allowed to go unchallenged, Juan’s unjust deportation increases the threat to the 750,000 other young people enrolled in DACA who are studying, working, and raising families in our communities, and who had been promised protections. Immigration arrests have risen by 32% since Trump took office, and arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record have doubled. The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee stands with Juan and all others who have been wrongfully deported. Affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person, we call for the President and Congress to uphold the promised protection from deportation of every young person registered in the DACA program.”

Faith communities across traditions have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to immigrant youth and their families, advocating for the DREAM Act, writing letters and filing Amicus briefs in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, pledging support by more than 800 congregations for the Sanctuary Movement, opposing policies that force local police to be immigration agents, and calling on elected leaders to champion policies that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented individuals in the United States. Raids on immigrant families will not make anyone any safer and failing to protect those in need are affronts to our country’s values of family unity, fairness and equality.

We draw from the scriptural call to love thy neighbor and welcome the sojourner by standing with our brothers and sisters to stop harmful deportations that tear families apart.