Catholic Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin TX responded to this week's announcement by the White House of its "Immigration Principles & Policies" which outline the Trump Administration’s position on immigration especially regarding younger immigrants, known as “Dreamers.” The latter are the 800,000 illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children, who the Obama administration enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA. Bishop Vásquez, the president of the Migration Commission of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged Congress to "ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all."
Here follows the full text of the bishop's statement:
"The Administration’s Immigration Principles and Policies do not provide the way forward for comprehensive immigration reform rooted in respect for human life and dignity, and for the security of our citizens. They are not reflective of our country’s immigrant past, and they attack the most vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children and many others who flee persecution. Most unfortunately, the principles fail to recognize that the family is the fundamental building block of our immigration system, our society, and our Church."
"Since July, Congress has introduced legislative solutions for Dreamers, including the Dream Act. The Administration should focus attention on ensuring that a legislative solution for Dreamers is found as soon as possible. Every day that passes without that solution, these youth experience growing apprehension for their futures and their families. Each passing day brings us all a step closer to March 2018, when DACA recipients will begin to lose legal work privileges, and far worse, face the threat of deportation and family separation," said the statement.
"For this reason, we exhort Congress to take up legislation and move forward promptly to ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all. Together with so many others of good will, we shall continue to offer welcome and support to these remarkable young people, and we shall not stop advocating for their permanent protection and eventual citizenship."
The program called "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - DACA" had created a temporary shield for nearly 800,000 undocumented youngsters and young adults who had come to the United States as a child and who, thanks to the DACA program, managed to complete higher education and work legally. In June, when the Administration announced that the end of DACA is coming, the Catholic bishops stated, "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."