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U.S. Bishops Urge Congress To Act After Deciding To Suspend DACA

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Following a recent ruling by a U.S. federal judge banning further deferred action program for children’s arrivals (DACA) requests, U.S. bishops call on Congress to pass laws that will provide legal status and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants.

By the editor of Vatican News

The bishops of the United States have expressed disappointment at a recent ruling by a federal judge in Texas that declared the Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal.

The ruling, released Friday by Judge Andrew Hansen, found the DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs federal rule-making, because it escaped the normal “notice and comment” process adopted for drafting. new rules.

The DACA program, created under the Obama administration, not only protects some undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children from deportation, but also allows them to work in the country. The protections of the DACA program are renewable and valid for two years at a time. However, the program does not provide a pathway to citizenship.

The latest move prevents the US government from accepting new applications for the DACA program, which actively covers approximately 650,000 recipients out of an estimated 3.6 million potential applicants (often referred to as “dreamers”) in the United States.

Appeal to lawmakers

In a statement released Monday, Most Reverend Mario Dorsonville, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington and chair of the American Bishops’ Conference Committee on Migration (USCCB), called on Congress to pass legislation that would protect immigrants.

In this regard, he noted that the “Senate already has several bills before it that would provide permanent relief to dreamers, including the American Dream and Promise Act passed by the House of Representatives in March.”

The Bishop went on to point out that DACA was never meant to be a permanent solution for dreamers; and that the recent decision is “simply the most recent development in a long list of events warranting action by Congress.”

Not just a question of human dignity

Further supporting his call, Bishop Dorsonville highlighted the Dreamers’ contributions to the American economy, noting that they “serve in our armed forces and raise American families.”

Despite this, he lamented, “they are prevented from becoming full members of our society”. He therefore stressed that “all Dreamers, not just those who receive DACA, deserve the opportunity to realize their God-given potential in the one country most of them have ever known”.

This, he insisted, “is not only a question of human dignity but also of family unity, given the 250,000 children of American nationality whose parents the Dreamers are”.

In conclusion, Bishop Dorsonville urged the Senate to join the House of Representatives in passing legislation that provides legal status and a path to citizenship for all Dreamers. In doing so, he said, “we recall the words of Pope Francis: ‘Immigrants, if they are helped to integrate, are a blessing, a source of enrichment and a new gift which fosters a society. to grow ‘.

Decision to be challenged

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden on Saturday expressed disappointment at the federal judge’s decision to quash the Obama-era DACA program and said the Justice Department will appeal the decision.

He noted that while the court order does not affect current DACA beneficiaries, the rulings nonetheless relegate hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future.

Biden also urged Congress to act, insisting that only he can guarantee a permanent solution by granting Dreamers a path to citizenship that “will provide the certainty and stability these young people need and deserve.” He therefore reiterated his call to Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act.