By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent
Catholics across the U.S. are being asked to call their Congressional representatives on Monday, Feb. 26, and urge them to protect Dreamers from deportation.
The National Catholic Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers was announced in a joint statement from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Vice-President Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, and Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, after the U.S. Senate failed to reach 60 votes to move forward with legislation to protect undocumented individuals who were brought to the U.S. as minors.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Senate was not able to come together in a bipartisan manner to secure legislative protection for the Dreamers,” they wrote.
“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.”
In September 2017, President Donald Trump announced that he would end DACA, a program that protects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors from deportation, if Congress failed to come up with a permanent solution before March 5, 2018. Such a move would leave an estimated 800,000 individuals with an uncertain legal fate.
The U.S. bishops are asking Catholics to make three essential requests of their representatives on behalf of these undocumented migrants: protection from deportation, a path to citizenship, and “to avoid any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process.”
“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,” they wrote.
Since it was introduced in 2001, the USCCB has supported the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, a bipartisan bill that would grant a pathway to citizenship for eligible DACA beneficiaries, still considered to be model legislation by the U.S. bishops.