A Shepherd's Message - February 27, 2018

February 27, 2018

For many years the Bishops of the United States have worked for comprehensive Immigration Reform. In recent times the issues surrounding immigrants have become more intense and complicated, more divisive, and more fraught with difficulties for our immigrant brothers and sisters.

Last September the Administration in Washington announced it was phasing out a program called DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — established in 2012 to grant at a two-year renewal interval amnesty against deportation. The program concerned those undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children or teenagers. In most cases these young people have known no other country but the United States, which has become their homeland.

The other name for these children and young people is Dreamers. The Administration sent the matter to Congress and demanded a solution within six months, March 5. The movement towards a resolution has become polemicized and politicized. During this same time, the Dreamers have become more fearful and anxious and their hopes are dimming. They should not have to live their lives in constant fear of deportation. Such action would involve family separation for them and genuine dangers of violence and poverty in their countries of birth where they to be deported.

This is a critical moment. 

We need to help the Dreamers now. We believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, each one a singularity made in the image and likeness of God. This is a critical moment. Many of the Dreamers are our neighbors, are members of our parishes, have been educated here, served honorably in the military and have made many contributions to work and to our society. They deserve the opportunity to gain legal status and eventual citizenship.

It is a moral duty for us and it is a positive good for our nation to allow the Dreamers to be protected and to reach their God-given potential. But this duty now becomes more urgent! Last week, the Senate failed to pass any bill that would provide protection for Dreamers. Further, they took a recess and will only return to session on Feb. 26, scarcely a week before March 5 when Dreamers face a genuine possibility of losing their DACA benefits, their ability to go to school, serve in the armed forces and avoid deportation.

We need to increase our efforts to find a legislative solution for Dreamers before March 5, the deadline President Donald Trump has set for ending the executive branch protection of DACA. I am asking you to consider the information, to call the toll-free number to reach Congress and to share your message with our legislators. Let the Catholic voice be heard about a matter that is crucial to these important immigrants, young men and women who are vulnerable and need this opportunity to flourish and be placed on a path to full legal protection.

I think it is important to state your message as a request for a bipartisan humane solution for Dreamers, a resolution that upholds common sense and the common good. Dreamers should be protected from deportation and set on a path that would lead to citizenship. Ask the legislators to reject proposals that undermine family immigration or hurt protections for unaccompanied children to the United States. Families are a blessing to be nurtured and protected. I would ask that you make two calls, one to your Senators and one to your Representatives in the House.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been building up a repertoire of extensive information and resources for many years. The website www.justiceforimmigrants.org is a remarkable place to be informed and to find many ways to voice your support.

Thank you very much for your help. Continue to have a beautiful Lent! 

'Our faith compels us'

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo encouraged participation in the Call-in Day to Congress on Monday, Feb. 26 and in the days following.

“Our faith compels us to stand with the vulnerable, including our immigrant brothers and sisters,” Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB Vice President; and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration said in a statement. “We have done so continually, but we must show our support and solidarity now in a special way. Now is the time for action.”

“We have done so continually, but we must show our support and solidarity now in a special way. Now is the time for action.”

This advocacy is critical to help the nearly 1.8 million Dreamers, young people who were brought into the United States by their parents as children. They may face deportation as soon as March 6 unless Congress reaches a bi-partisan deal to protect them.

Please follow these easy steps to help: 
1. Call 855-589-5698 to reach the Capitol switchboard, and press 1 to connect to your Senators. Once connected to each Senator’s office, please ask the person on the phone to deliver this simple message: 
“I urge you to support a bipartisan, common-sense and humane solution for Dreamers: 
• Protect Dreamers from deportation and provide them with a path to citizenship. 
• Reject proposals that undermine family immigration or protections for unaccompanied children. 
• As a Catholic, I know that families are not “chains,” but a blessing to be protected. 
• Act now to protect Dreamers, our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

2. Please call 855-589-5698 a second time to reach the Capitol switchboard again, and press 2 to connect to your Representative. Once connected to the Representative’s office, ask the person on the phone to deliver the same message as above.




From the Texas Catholic Herald

Related: Dreamers feel they are Americans contributing to Church, community