U.S. Bishops Executive Committee Release Statement on Administration’s DACA Decision; Calls on Catholic Faithful to Urge Congress to Pass DREAM Act

September 12, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—TheExecutive Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued astatement asking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to extend DACArenewal deadlines in hurricane impacted states. The statement also urgesCongress to find a durable and permanent solution on behalf of DACA youth andurges the Administration to allow 75,000 refugee admissions into the UnitedStates in 2018. The full statement from the USCCB Executive Committeefollows:

"TheExecutive Committee of the USCCB, meeting this week, makes its own the Statement of the USCCB President andothers on September 5th, which expressed extreme disappointmentwith the administration's decision to end DACA with a six month wind-downperiod, and committed the USCCB to redouble its efforts to help find apermanent legislative solution in Congress.

"Inlight of many years of failure by Congress, whether controlled by Republicansor Democrats, to address the situation, the Committee urges the Catholicfaithful and all people of good will to contact their representatives inCongress to urge the passage of the DREAM Act or similar legislation as aprompt, humane, and durable solution to this problem of greatest urgency. TheExecutive Committee also notes the tremendous contributions of the DACA youthto date as extraordinary, including the fact that many serve in our military.

"Inthe wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and the devastation left behind, theExecutive Committee requests that the Department of Homeland Security extendthe October 5, 2018 deadline for the DACA renewals that fall within the October5- March 5, 2018 renewal period for those living in hurricane-affectedzones. As Texas and Florida have some of the largest populations of DACAyouth, we ask that you ensure that these individuals receive fair access torenew and are not unduly punished due to natural disaster. We fear that theycannot adequately do so at this time given the physical damage on the ground.

"TheCommittee is further troubled and deeply concerned, as the President nears afinal decision to reduce the number of refugees welcomed in the United Statesby 50%, that the administration will unduly restrict our reception of those insearch of safety for their families. The USCCB proposes that 75,000refugees, already a reduction of over 25% from the previous determination, bethe goal for welcoming refugee admissions for 2018. Going further down to50,000 or below, as proposed in previous Executive Orders by the President, issimply inhumane, particularly when our great nation has the resources andability to do more.

"Weimplore the administration to show mercy and compassion for those seekingrefuge, and to advance the American value of freedom through providing safeharbor to those fleeing tyranny and religious persecution.

"Inthis moment of moral decision, we look to Pope Francis, who in his address toCongress stated: 'We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discardwhatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: 'Do unto othersas you would have them do unto you' (Mt 7:12). To this end, we believe thatdeporting exemplary young people who were brought here as children and who knowonly the United States as their home – or failing to do all we can to helprefugees and their families, who are often driven to exile by war and extremeexploitation – is not in our interests as a moral and generous people. Our country has the right and responsibility to regulateits border. We ask that it be done humanely."

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,USCCB, Executive Committee, Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals, DACA,United States Congress, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey, Department ofHomeland Security, Texas, Florida, refugees, Executive Order, Pope Francis,mercy, compassion.

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