CAPITOL HILL - A group of Christians marched on Capital Hill Tuesday, calling on the Senate to pass the controversial DREAM Act.
Several participants were young believers. The legislation would create a path to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants if they choose to go to college or join the military.
"One of our responsibilities and callings as followers of Jesus Christ is to be hospitable, particularly to the stranger, to the foreigner," said Rev. John Richardson, leader of North Carolina Disciples of Christ.
"We will have the architects and the teachers and the doctors and the lawyers, and we will have the spiritual leaders that we need into the future," added Bishop Minerva Carcano of the United Methodist Church in Phoenix.
The Senate delayed voting on the DREAM Act last week after Democrats failed to rally enough support for the legislation.
Supporters argue that the DREAM Act would provide a future for young people who otherwise wouldn't be able to work or go to school.
"Their parents may not have come here appropriately, but the kids had no idea what was happening," Richardson added. "And they've gone through our public school systems, and they want to go to college. They want to go to work, they want to be in the military, and there's no way for them to do any of that."
Still, opponents argue that the legislation gives an unfair advantage to illegal immigrants.
"Children often suffer from the mistakes of their parents," explained Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies. "If you take out a mortgage that you can't pay and lose your house, your kids don't get to keep living there just because they're the children."
"I don't mean to be flip or anything, but that's the way it is," he continued. "Parents are the ones who are morally responsible for what they do to their children."
Krikorian's group estimates the DREAM Act would cost taxpayers about $6 billion a year, and the children of illegal immigrants could take up slots at some colleges that would have gone to American-born students.
But Tuesday's demonstrators feel only good can come from educating young, undocumented students, and letting them serve their country.
Many Republican lawmakers and some Democrats are doing all they can to block the DREAM Act. They may succeed. With only a couple of weeks left in the lame-duck session, the GOP is set to take control of the House in January, limiting its chances of passing.