“Aloha Dreamers in Hawaii” — March 21 Interfaith Open Table to feature Aloha Dream Team

Press Release

TIAH/ADT Interfaith Open Table
Tuesday, March 21st, 7 – 8:30pm

Open Table - figures identified with different faith traditions reach to each other across a tableWHAT: “Aloha Dreamers in Hawaii,” a TIAH (The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii) Interfaith Open Table featuring Aloha Dream Team.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 7:00 – 8:30pm

WHERE: The First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, 2500 Pali Hwy, 96917, 808-595-4047

CONTACT: Cheryl Bellisario, 808-321-4549

Immigration policy has always been a hot topic of debate and has only become more so with the new presidential administration. One group of people who are currently in a very difficult position are Dreamers. This group of youth were brought to the U.S. as children but are undocumented. The DREAM Act, which would provide those eligible with many benefits including legal permanent residence, was shelved and never agreed upon in Congress. Because of this inaction, President Obama signed an executive order in 2012 for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA allows the recipients to get a Social Security number, work in the U.S., apply for healthcare, get a driver’s license (in certain states only, here in Hawaii we have limited purpose licenses), and be safe from deportation, among other things.

DACA has provided many people across the U.S. with hope and allowed them to come out of the shadows and participate in and contribute to the country that they grew up in and call home. Many DACA recipients have become fearful under this new administration because DACA is just an executive order and also because all of these people provided all of their personal information to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Hawaii has one of the lowest DACA participation rates in the nation, and our communities are missing out on the important benefits of the program, which allows people opportunities to access education, employment, driver’s licenses, and other resources that are critical to self-sufficiency. DACA participation can open the way for undocumented immigrants to attain their true potential and make even greater contributions to our communities. Aloha DREAM Team, a youth advocacy group with members who have benefitted from the DACA program, focuses on outreach efforts and support of immigration policy reform.

We will be discussing the status of Dreamers and undocumented immigrants here in Hawaii as well as the state of immigration policy. We also will be talking about what the faith communities can do to get involved and support our neighbors during these uncertain times.

Refreshments will be provided. There will also be an Action Table for sharing information and handouts.