As immigration bill fails, US bishops call for DACA protections

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Protestors against President Trump's decision to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. Credit: Christopher Penler/Shutterstock.

After the Senate failed to pass a bipartisan bill that would offer protections for immigrants, U.S. bishops noted their disappointment and urged leaders to focus their efforts on finding a humane solution for DACA recipients.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Senate was not able to come together in a bipartisan manner to secure legislative protection for the Dreamers,” read a Feb. 19 statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“With the March 5th deadline looming, we ask once again that Members of Congress show the leadership necessary to find a just and humane solution for these young people, who daily face mounting anxiety and uncertainty,” the statement continued.

The statement was signed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the USCCB; Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB; and Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, chairman of the USCCB committee on migration.

The bishops’ words come after an immigration bill failed to pass the Senate by 60 votes last week; it would have supported DACA recipients, or Dreamers, on their way to receiving U.S. citizenship.

The plan additionally included several other immigration reform proposals, such as the elimination of the diversity visa lottery and restrictions on family-sponsored migration. The bill would have also offered an increase in border security.

President Trump ended the DACA protection program last fall, which had been set in place by the Obama administration. The program’s termination has left upwards of 1.8 million “Dreamers” in a gray area of their status within the U.S.

After the bill’s collapse in Senate, a March 5 deadline looms for Congress to find a solution for DACA recipients to find a pathway for citizenship.

With the impending deadline, the U.S. bishops announced a National Catholic Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers, prompting the faithful toward action to safeguard immigrants.

“This coming weekend, we will be asking the faithful across the nation to call their Members of Congress next Monday, February 26, to protect Dreamers from deportation, to provide them a path to citizenship, and to avoid any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process,” the bishops said.

“Our faith compels us to stand with the vulnerable, including our immigrant brothers and sisters. We have done so continually, but we must show our support and solidarity now in a special way. Now is the time for action.” 

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