Community

Interfaith leaders in Louisville met Thursday at the Americana Community Center to voice support for legislation to fix DACA, the Obama-era directive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The program was rescinded by President Trump in September. It allowed the roughly 700,000 undocumented immigrants — known as DREAMers — brought to the country as children, to live, work and go to school in the U.S. without fear of deportation. 

The president said it was up to Congress to pass a law in order to protect DREAMers from deportation. Democrats want to pass permanent protections for DACA recipients. Republicans have pledged to pass an immigration bill next year, but as NPR reported, GOP leaders aren’t rushing to get it done.

Matt Goldberg is the director of community relations at the Jewish Federation of Louisville. He said it is a fundamental value of Judaism “to welcome the stranger.”

“Jewish history is replete with being kicked out of country after country,” he said. “Thousands of years of discrimination, thousands of years of exile. We have a particular historical bend towards welcoming the stranger.”

Muhammad Babar is a physician and president of Muslim Americans for Compassion. He said in the Quran, there is great emphasis on taking care of the poor and unerprivileged. 

“These DREAMers, immigrants or refugees … I am obligated by my faith in Islam to stand with them and every Muslim in my faith has to treat them as they treat themselves,” Babar said.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 5,848 Kentucky residents had been approved for protections under DACA as of the end of March.

Disclosure: Dr. Muhammad Babar is a Louisville Public Media board member. 

This story has been updated. 

Roxanne Scott covers the economy for WFPL News.