Washington (Agenzia Fides) - The US Bishops have launched a special "National Catholic Call-In Day for the Protection of Dreamers", the young immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors and without legal documents to follow their parents, who now risk deportation. Catholics across the United States are being asked to call their Congressional representatives on Monday, February 26 and urge them "to protect Dreamers from deportation, to assure them a path to obtain citizenship". The statement sent to Agenzia Fides reminds Catholics that "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".
In the February 15 session, the US Senate, had rejected four measures related to immigration, two of these promoted by Trump’s government, putting on hold the general immigration reform announced by the president during the "state of Union Address", delivered on January 30th.
Immediately, Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, issued an urgent alert to Catholics in his archdiocese to raise their voices to support the Dreamers. "Time is running out for them - he said - Congress must pass bipartisan legislation that would provide urgently needed relief for Dreamers" - a bipartisan measure that included a path to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million young people of the DACA program (called "dreamers" because of the initials of the law that protected them) which is set to expire March 5, as promised by the President Trump.
Since the beginning of February, other Bishops and religious have been putting pressure on parliamentarians and public opinion in favor of the reactivation of DACA. The Catholic University of Notre Dame in Indiana, reiterated that the university "will continue to support them financially, maintain their enrollment, provide expert legal assistance". Some experts see a ray of hope, such as Kevin Appleby, director of the international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies in New York: "The fact that the president's framework proposal has been rejected could pave the way for a narrower law that grants citizenship to young people without documents, without decimating the family immigration system". "The Bishops and the Catholic community of the United States can take a leading role in continuing to underline the moral necessity of offering protection to these young people" concluded the expert.
Since 2012, the DACA program has allowed minors to come to the United States with their parents without legal permission to receive a two-year protection period and to be entitled to a work permit. (SM) (Agenzia Fides, 21/02/2018)