Over 100 clergy and students from across the nation participated in an emergency prayer summit and March in Washington, D.C. yesterday in advocacy for the DREAM Act.
Gathering in the United Methodist building before noon, Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders in religious garb and students with their graduation caps offered prayers in support of giving undocumented immigrants a chance to lawfully live and work in the country.
Afterwards, the leaders joined hands and sang hymns for a Jericho March around the Capitol building and several Senate office buildings. The demonstration was named after the Old Testament story where Joshua marched around the city of Jericho seven times and sounded trumpets until the city's walls fell.
The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act provides an earned pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who have a high school diploma, GED, or are accepted to a college or the military.
The bill is applicable to immigrants who are 30-years-old or younger and who have either been living in the U.S. for five years or were brought to the country prior to their 16th birthday.
"All across the country, faith leaders are saying 'now is the time.' We ought to give talented, upstanding, hardworking youth the opportunity to serve their country in the military or contribute to their country through higher education," said Rev. Peg Chemberlin, President of the National Council of Churches, which represents 40 million American Christians.
The DREAM Act narrowly passed the House of Representatives earlier this month by a 216-198 vote despite opposition from Republicans, who say that the bill provides amnesty and unfair work opportunities for illegal immigrants during a time of high-unemployment.
The GOP has threatened to filibuster a vote in the Senate, which is expected to come up later this week or the next.