America has always been the place people could nurture dreams that found welcome nowhere else; the adoptive home for dreamers from every square inch of the planet who came as refugees from the terrible nightmares of this life.

America has always been the place people could nurture dreams that found welcome nowhere else; the adoptive home for dreamers from every square inch of the planet who came as refugees from the terrible nightmares of this life.

We have been the door of radical hospitality, opened wide to a disparate world fleeing the cruelty of their geography and circumstance; those living in close proximity to injustice and violence and oppression.

The American Dream was once a thing. It once meant something. It was a declaration of possibility; the idea that this place was supposed to be refuge, rest, and level ground for a weary humanity not used to such things.

As James Truslow Adams wrote, this dream was to be “a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

And this place called America was was intended to be the incubator of this dream; a brilliant beacon to the world so often disoriented in thick darkness. In Emma Lazarus’ words etched beneath the feet of Lady Liberty, we see the mission statement of our nation, and the invitation to the dreamers:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

But the tempest-tossed no longer find sanctuary from the storm here. The huddled masses get few deep, uncontested breaths of freedom. The dreamers are daily roused violently from their sleep.

The President ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program isn’t a surprise. It’s who he is. It’s what his party has become. It’s what those still supporting him are: white American Dream Hoarders.

They are men and women who’ve come to believe that being born here is some kind of moral merit badge they’ve somehow earned; one that makes them superior to those without such good fortune. They’ve forgotten that their ancestors were immigrants; that their forebears were all dreamers who came here to escape something oppressive and to find something better for their children.

They’ve been taught to see dark skin and strange accents and unusual head wraps as imminent threats to their well-deserved stranglehold on America, and on every dream that resides here. They see their pigmentation as a special birthright to blessing — and as a result every movement towards equality feels to them like an unmerited attack.

The absolute random chance that resulted in their trip down the birth canal depositing them in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave — is something they’ve come to claim as a personal achievement or Providence.

And now they, themselves the offspring of immigrants, who have been the beneficiaries of every privilege and advantage and foothold America has to offer — are making sure no else every get within reach. They are guarding it all with great urgency and malice.

The tragedy of this latest assault on a marginalized community by our Government, is that it all feels so commonplace. It feels like just another day in Donald Trump’s cruel, callous, malevolent America. It now seems so congruent with the American Evangelical Church that justifies and amens his every atrocity.

And for those of us who recognize our privilege, who understand the good fortune we have to call this place home, who have been allowed to live the American Dream with every little effort or resistance or adversity — we realize it is simply another day to push back against it all.

We know that just as yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, we’re going to fight the American Dream Hoarders — and we’re going to do it until they no longer have the power to force their nightmares upon those who wish to dream; who want to give and build and love and worship and contribute here.

We’re going to stand with the hurting and the vulnerable and the silenced ones, because that is what Americans are supposed to do.

With our life, our liberty, our happiness — none of which has never been in question — we’re supposed to defend other people’s dreams.

John Pavlovitz

Originally published on as DACA, The American Dreamers, and the Dream Hoarders

John Pavlovitz launched an online ministry to help connect people who want community, encouragement, and to grow spiritually. Individuals who want to support his work can sponsor his mission on Patreon, and help the very real pastoral missionary expand its impact in the world.