US bishops urge Trump to reinstate DACA

CNA 562901b1e70c9 76750 2 1 Archbishop Jose Gomez. | Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Leading U.S. Catholic bishops on Thursday criticized the Trump administration's decision to consider ending DACA.

The Department of Homeland Security had announced on Wednesday that it would still consider ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows certain immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to apply for a delay of deportation, where they could also receive a work authorization, despite a recent decision by the Supreme Court.

"The Catholic Church in the United States has long advocated for the Dreamers and we will continue to stand with them," stated Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. bishops' conference (USCCB), and Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C., and chair of the USCCB migration committee, on Thursday.

"Many [Dreamers] were brought to this country as infants and young children and they have grown up in our schools and parishes and now are making important contributions in the Church and in almost every area of American life," the bishops said.

In September of 2017, the Trump administration first announced it would be winding down the program and accepting no new applications for deferred action. It gave Congress a six-month window to enact parts of the program into law.

Around 800,000 immigrants are estimated to have benefitted from the program by the time the Trump administration chose to end it in 2017. It was begun in 2012 by the Obama administration by an executive memorandum. Currently, around 670,000 DACA recipients work in the U.S., the USCCB says.

Congress failed to pass legislation by the deadline in March of 2018, and the administration moved ahead with its effort to end the program.

The Supreme Court in June ruled against the administration, saying that its process of ending DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act because it did not provide "a reasoned explanation" for its decision. However, the Court sent the case back to the administration.

On Wednesday, DHS announced it would review DACA and would still consider ending it, and would not accept any new applications for deferred action during the review process.

DHS said that current DACA recipients could apply for a renewal of their status but that it would only be granted in one-year increments on a case-by-case basis.

"The new limits outlined in the Administration's memorandum directly and negatively impact immigrant youth, their families, and the communities we serve," Archbishop Gomez and Bishop Dorsonville said.

They urged President Trump to reinstate the original DACA protections and accept new applications.

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