Bishop Hebda, Cozzens: Church, society weakened without ‘dreamers’

| September 6, 2017 | 5 Comments

Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Bishop Andrew Cozzens of St. Paul and Minneapolis expressed “frustration and disappointment” with President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and called on Congress “to act quickly to find a legislative solution that fixes our broken immigration system and allows these ‘Dreamers’ to remain in the United States, the country that is their home.”

In a Sept. 6 statement, the bishops pledged “prayerful support” for people affected by the ending of the program, known as DACA. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration’s decision to rescind the program Sept. 5.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals supporters demonstrate near the White House in Washington Sept. 5. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Sept. 5 that the DACA program is “being rescinded” by President Donald Trump, leaving some 800,000 youth, brought illegally to the U.S. as minors, in peril of deportation and of losing permits that allow them to work. CNS

“The estimated 800,000 young people who have benefited from the DACA program came to this nation as children,” the bishops said. “They did not make the choice to cross the border without documents — others made it for them. They live in our neighborhoods, worship with us on Sundays, attend our schools, pay taxes and defend our nation. Many are already generously exercising leadership in our parishes, chanceries and seminaries and are playing key roles as the Church in the United States ministers to people of many languages and cultures. They help all of us to ‘dream.’ Our Church and our society would be weakened without them.”

The bishops invited people to join them in praying for the “dreamers” who may be experiencing anxiety and fear about the loss of DACA status, and for elected officials, “that they might be blessed with the wisdom and prudence needed to address these important issues in a way that is both just and humane and that reflects who we are as Americans.”

President Barack Obama established DACA in 2012 by executive order. The program gave some youth who were brought into the United States as children without legal documentation a work permit and temporary reprieve from deportation.

Catholic News Services contributed to this story.

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  • DebraBrunsberg

    President Obama’s executive order was illegal. He did not have the power to break immigration laws or establish new ones on his own. President Trump has told congress that if they want to pursue this legally, they will need to do that. I know that everyone got used to Obama and his many, many illegal actions, but why not let something be done the way it should be done? I am praying that Congress will fix our broken immigration system so that people will no longer be able to put their children last by illegally entering the country. I know. Novel idea, obey the law.

  • DebraBrunsberg

    The executive order was illegal. Congress has been told they need to write and pass their own law if they wish to pursue something like this. I know the concept of legality was tossed when Obama was President so many people have forgotten what that means. I will pray that everyone can remain calm until their wishes to overturn our laws can be accomplished.

  • Heather

    This is a moment I am extraordinarily proud to be Catholic. Kudos to our bishops for coming out publicly to support this vulnerable and unfairly-maligned group of young people whose lives are being upended through no fault of their own.

    • Charles C.

      I agree that Bishops should support the vulnerable and unfairly maligned. But it should be done with an accurate understanding of the situation. Perhaps, through the press or lobbyists, the bishops have accepted faulty information.

      Were there really 800,000 youth or children? No. Remember that the program applied to people up to the age of 30, or perhaps the bishops weren’t told that. Also, because of the difficulty in finding people’s records, officials just accepted the word of the people crossing the border concerning their age. Smugglers and would be immigrants quickly got the word to claim youth in order to get protection. That’s how we got six foot tall men with stubble in the seventh grade.

      The program itself was full of fraud.
      ————-
      In an interview with LifeZette, former USCIS manager of the agency’s investigative unit, Matt O’Brien, alleged that the fraud rate for DACA is roughly “40 to 50 percent” and potentially even “higher”:

      “Based on what I had seen and what I discussed with my colleagues, the fraud rate is 40 to 50 percent. It’s possible that it was higher,” he told LifeZette this week.

      According to O’Brien, the DACA program was riddled with fraud and abuse from the beginning, where illegal alien applicants for the program allegedly lied on applications and were rarely caught by USCIS officials:

      “There’s a huge rate of fraud in this program,” he told LifeZette this week on the subject of DACA.

      USCIS employees did quick checks of DACA applications, he said, rather than thorough reviews, “in order to get the DACAs all racked and stacked quickly.”

      He and the investigators working under him, called adjudicators, often found evidence that someone had lied about his DACA qualifications, but the office of the chief counsel at USCIS, he said, almost always dismissed the adjudicator’s recommendation to deny the application.
      ———————–

      Perhaps our bishops (and maybe some of us lay people) need to reconsider our reaction to the new situation.

  • Judy Saumweber

    Its good that the Archdiocese is standing up for these young people. We must also be thinking and talking more compassionately about their parents. There is a lot of talk in the news contrasting these “good kids” who were brought here “through no fault of their own” with their implied “bad” illegal parents. These parents brought their kids here with the hope that their kids could have a better life, which is what good parents do. No human being should be referred to as “illegal.” The US needs comprehensive immigration reform for those who want to come in the future, and we need thoughtful and compassionate responses to all people who are already here.