The decision to end DACA

The decision to end DACA

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals supporters demonstrate near the White House in Washington Sept. 5.
(CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters)

Pat Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, read the following statement in support of the Dream Act of 2017 by the New Jersey bishops at a press conference at the Labor Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., on Sept. 5. The statement was signed by Cardinal Joseph A. Tobin, C.Ss.R. of Newark; Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. of Trenton; Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden; Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson; Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen; Bishop Kurt Burnette, Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic; Bishop Yousif B. Habash, Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Diocese; Auxiliary Bishop John W. Flesey of Newark; and Auxiliary Bishop Manuel Cruz of Newark.

We, the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey, are pastors to over four million men, women and children who trace their roots to almost every country of the world and represent every race and ethnicity.

That is one of the reasons we ask the New Jersey Congressional delegation to support the Dream Act of 2017 (S.1615/H.R. 3440). The Dream Act of 2017 would protect almost 800,000 DACA youth (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) who entered the United States as children and know America as their only home. These youth call themselves Dreamers because they seek the American dream of liberty.

Tens of thousands of Dreamers call New Jersey home. They serve in our military. They are honor students in our colleges and universities. They are leaders in our parishes. They enrich the economic vitality and stability of our communities. Unfortunately, throughout the nation, many Dreamers live with anxiety and fear that at any time they might be separated from their families and deported to a country they do not know.

As Bishops, we encourage all people of good will to love their neighbors and to welcome strangers. We write to you, our Representatives in Congress, urging you to support and to co-sponsor the Dream Act of 2017. In addition, we ask you to support in Congress a comprehensive immigration reform that includes establishing a path towards citizenship.

While we support securing our nation’s borders from those who would harm us, such actions and policies ought not to prevent us from protecting our Dreamers. Jesus taught that we will be judged on the basis of how we treat the most vulnerable members of society (Matthew 25: 31-46). Today, our Dreamers are among the most vulnerable in our society.

We urge our New Jersey Congressional delegation to stand on the right side of judgement by supporting the Dream Act of 2017.

As for us, we stand in solidarity with our Dreamers and we are ready to assist Congress, our state and our communities in the development and implementation of comprehensive immigration reform.

*******************************************************************************************************Statement of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, USCCB president

WASHINGTON— The President and Vice President along with Chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have issued a statement denouncing the

Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after six months.

The following statement from USCCB President Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston- Houston, along with USCCB Vice President, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman, Committee on Migration, and Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, chairman of the Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees, and Travelers says the “cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible.”

Over 780,000 youth received protection from the DACA program since its inception by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2012. DACA provided no legal status or government benefits but did provide recipients with temporary employment authorization to work in the United States and reprieve from deportation.

Full statement follows:

“The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible. It causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families. These youth entered the U.S. as minors and often know America as their only home. The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and a determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education. Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation. This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans.

The Church has recognized and proclaimed the need to welcome young people: ‘Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me’ (Mark 9:37). Today, our nation has done the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond. It is a step back from the progress that we need to make as a country. Today’s actions represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future. DACA youth are woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American youth.

We strongly urge Congress to act and immediately resume work toward a legislative solution. We pledge our support to work on finding an expeditious means of protection for DACA youth.

As people of faith, we say to DACA youth — regardless of your immigration status, you are children of God and welcome in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church supports you and will advocate for you.”

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