In the Judeo-Christian scriptures, dreams can be a means of God’s revelation and dreamers are important figures.
Joseph the Patriarch had dreams that his brothers interpreted as self-aggrandizing. They resented him for being his father’s favorite and they sold Joseph into slavery. But Joseph’s dreams were indeed divine revelations and he became a key adviser to the Pharaoh and ultimately provided salvation to his brothers when Israel suffered from famine.
Another Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, was instructed in a dream to not fear taking Mary as his wife, despite her pregnancy. And later, he was again instructed in a dream to escape the wrath of the jealous King Herod who was killing all the male children under two years of age because he was fearful of the claims of another king.
These dreamers had a significant role to play in salvation history.
At this moment in history, the dreamers we speak about are young, promising, enterprising Americans who were brought to this country at a young age without documentation.
They are studying and working, they are members of our houses of worship and contributing members of our local community. Many of them even serve in our military.
They grew up knowing the ideals of our nation’s founders and sharing in the American dream of prosperity resulting from hard work. They were brought to this country by parents, who, like parents everywhere, want their children to have opportunities. Their homelands could not provide these opportunities.
These dreamers dream of having families, opening businesses, excelling in medicine, technology, education, social work and many other fields. They are hopeful representatives of our nation’s future.
These dreamers have faces and stories that are part of the American dream.
Mariana is a good example, she has been living here since childhood and this is the homeland she knows and loves. She works hard and studies hard, the first in her family to go to college. She also helps her mother with a youth group at the parish, often assisting in translation and serving as a bridge between two cultures. Mariana is in good company and we are blessed by her presence among us.
Time is running out for these dreamers.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, majority leader in the Senate, has promised to address the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, which protects them from deportation before the continuing resolution to fund the federal government expires Feb. 8.
It is important that Kentuckians hold him to that promise and insist that he bring clean DACA legislation to a vote in the Senate.
The House of Representatives also needs to vote to protect the dreamers. The hundreds of thousands enrolled in DACA should be protected as they were promised when they signed up.
Family reunification for legal immigrants should not be sacrificed to preserve DACA. That vote should stand alone.
Let Congress know that these young people are part of the American dream.
Bishop John Stowe serves the Catholic Diocese of Lexington.