Archbishop Charles Chaput is inviting all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to join a national Catholic call-in day to urge Congress to protect “Dreamers,” those young people brought to the United States as children by their undocumented parents.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is organizing the effort for Monday, Feb. 26 in which all the faithful across the U.S. are being asked to call their Congressional representatives and senators and request protection of some 1.8 million youths from deportation, to provide them with a path to citizenship and to preserve existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors, according to a bishops’ statement.
While Dreamers enjoy limited protections from deportation, those protections expire March 5.
Last week the U.S. Senate failed to agree on a bill providing legislative protections before the senators adjourned from their session this week. The call-in campaign is timing to coincide with the resumption of work in the Capitol Feb. 26.
According to a letter and fact sheet provided by the USCCB, the conference agrees with President Trump’s support for relief of the Dreamers and a path for their citizenship, and states “an overwhelming majority of Americans agree that Dreamers need a permanent legislative solution.”
The nation’s Catholic bishops “support these young people who are contributors to our economy and leaders in our parishes and communities. A legislative solution for Dreamers would further unite us as a country and advance the common good. We remain committed to work with Congress to achieve this goal,” wrote Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration.
Among other points noted by the bishops, they called Dreamers “contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes.” They are “oven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American.”
While brought to the United States at a young age, they should not have to live in fear of deportation at this time, which bring “separation from their families and real dangers of violence and poverty in their countries of birth,” the bishops wrote.
“It is both our moral duty and in our nation’s best interest to protect Dreamers and allow them to reach their God-given potential. Some enjoy limited legal protection now, but those protections will begin to expire on March 5.”
Catholics are urged to call a toll-free number at the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 855-589-5698 and press 1 to connect to one’s senator, and again at the same number press 2 for one’s member of the U.S. House of Representatives and communicate the following:
“I urge you to support a bipartisan, common-sense, and humane solution for Dreamers:
- Protect Dreamers from deportation and provide them with a path to citizenship.
- Reject proposals that undermine family immigration or protections for unaccompanied children.
- As a Catholic, I know that families are not ‘chains,’ but a blessing to be protected.
- Act now to protect Dreamers, our immigrant brothers and sisters.”
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