“Actions implemented by the prior administration on these issues have directly impacted and harmed immigrants’ and refugees’ lives, in many cases needlessly instilling fear and creating or perpetuating family separation,” stated Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C. and USCCB migration chair.
However, the executive director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), Anna Gallagher, pleaded for a stop to deportations of asylum-seekers that were ordered by the Trump administration and scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 3.
Although President Biden previously ordered a 100-day halt to some deportations of immigrants, a federal judge on Jan. 26 suspended that order. Deportations ordered by the Trump administration were allowed to go into effect.
Those included for removal on Wednesday included Haitian asylum-seekers, immigrant families detained in Dilley, Texas, and “dozens of people who fled atrocities in Cameroon, Angola, and other countries,” Gallagher said on Tuesday.
“No human being should be sent back to harm. When our government shirked that responsibility for four years, people died,” Gallagher stated.
Among its immigration actions, the White House announced on Tuesday that the administration will review the previous halt to new asylum grants during the COVID-19 pandemic, and would consider how to receive asylum seekers who were affected by the previous “remain-in-Mexico” policy.
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The administration will also consider reviving the Central American Minors program.
“We know that changes will take time but applaud President Biden’s commitment to prioritize assisting our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters,” Bishop Dorsonville stated, while offering the bishops’ “assistance and cooperation on these urgent matters of human life and dignity.”
The group Jesuit Refugee Services also praised the executive actions.