AMERICA/UNITED STATES - The Bishops: yes to an immigration law, no to negative impacts on families and the vulnerable

Wednesday, 20 June 2018 migrants   children   bishops   family   legality  


Washington (Agenzia Fides) - "While we truly want a legislative solution for Dreamers, we cannot, in good faith, endorse large structural changes to the immigration system that detrimentally impact families and the vulnerable, such as those that are contained in this legislation. We welcome the opportunity to dialogue with lawmakers and to discuss possible opportunities for further compromise, particularly with respect to effects on families and the vulnerable". This is what Mgr. Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB/COM) Committee on Migration wrote in a letter sent a letter to every Member of the U.S. House of Representatives in response to two immigration bills that are expected to be taken up later this week by the full House.
The so-called "Dreamers" are about 800,000 immigrants. President Barack Obama had introduced the Daca program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) as a stopgap measure that would shield from deportation people who were brought into the United States as children, a program suspended by the Trump administration. Mgr. Vasquez had previously written in opposition to the first of the two bills (H.R. 4760), introduced in January of this year, also under discussion this week, which provides for the reduction of visas for workers in the agricultural sector, the reduction of visas for family reunification, the funding to build a border wall with Mexico and the increase of agents employed in the Security Department.
In his letter yesterday, sent to Agenzia Fides, Mgr. Vásquez states: "My brother Bishops and I appreciate the effort by Representatives to find a legislative solution for Dreamers by bringing immigration measures before the House of Representatives. We believe that any such legislation must be bipartisan, provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship, be pro-family, protect the vulnerable and be respectful of human dignity with regard to border security and enforcement".
In the meantime, videos have been causing a sensation all over the world with the cries of foreign children, separated from their parents and locked up in detention centers, following the new rules on immigration, a consequence of "zero tolerance", on the Mexican border. The theme is widely debated at all levels. Hundreds of members of the United Methodist Church have filed claims of child abuse and racism against Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he enacted a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has led to the separation of thousands of parents and children at the U.S. border. The letter, signed by 640 faithful, priests and leaders of the Methodist Church, states: "Pursuant to Paragraph 2702.3 of the 2016 United Methodist Book of Discipline, we hereby charge Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Attorney General of the United States, with the chargeable offenses of: child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and the dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of the United Methodist Church doctrine". The letter states that "while other individuals and areas of the federal government are implicated in each of these examples", Jeff Sessions – as a long-term United Methodist in a tremendously powerful, public position – is particularly accountable to us, his church. He is ours, and we are his. As his denomination, "we have an ethical obligation to speak boldly when one of our members is engaged in causing significant harm". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 20/06/2018)