Catholic bishops throughout the country have expressed their support for the proposed Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act (H.R. 4796), a bipartisan plan to augment border security at the U.S./Mexico border through the use of technology, increase the number of immigration judges and immigration appeals staff attorneys, and investigate the root causes and prevent future irregular migration from Central America.
The proposal would also give “Dreamers,” those living in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a path to permanent citizenship.
“The time has come for our leaders in Congress to do what is right and pass legislation that will provide a permanent solution for the nearly 2 million young people who were brought to this country as small children by undocumented parents or family members,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez in a prepared statement. (Read the entire statement here).
“My brother bishops and I would prefer a “clean” bill that would simply grant legal status and a path to citizenship for the Dreamers but this is no longer realistic. The longer these debates drag on, the greater the risk that Congress will do nothing before November’s mid-term elections. And it is unconscionable to allow another year to pass without finding a solution. The USA Act represents a good-faith compromise on both sides — trading assurances for the Dreamers in exchange for border-security improvements,” he said.
In a released statement, the chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Migration, Bishop Joe Vásquez, of Austin Texas, announced support for the USA Act and insisted on the need for immediate action.
"Every day, my brother bishops and I witness directly the constant anxiety of Dreamer youth and their families, and that experience of urgency moves us to press Congress for an immediate and durable solution to this problem. We are hopeful our support of the current version of the USA Act, and our continued support of the Dream Act, will encourage Congress to act now and find a humane legislative solution for Dreamers," noted Bishop Vásquez.
On Wednesday, a Federal Court Judge ruled that the Trump administration’s attempt to end the DACA program was based on the “virtually unexplained” grounds that the program was “unlawful.” It was the third judge to rule against President Trump and the first Republican to do so.
Stay with the CCC for the latest on DACA, Dreamers and immigration reform.