The cancellation of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program is truly heartbreaking. My prayers and concern go out to the more than 780,000 young people in the US who received protection from the DACA program. This latest decisions, as well as SB4, are in opposition to the message of the Gospel that teaches us to respond to our brothers and sisters in need. In Mark 9:37 we read that, “Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
These young people have long been called Dreamers and it is their dream to live and work in the country they have grown up in and love, in most cases the only country they have ever known as home. Many of these hardworking young people have provided for their families, served in our military, attended our schools and have demonstrated that they want to be an active part of our communities. Our God has shown His love, mercy, and goodness to these young people and we are called to do the same. DACA youth are an important part of our country and our Church, and should be given every opportunity to a better life, similar to the opportunities afforded many of our ancestors who arrived in the United States through Ellis Island. As the Bishop of the Diocese, in solidarity with these young people and their families, I know that these developments hurt our parish communities, and in turn, negatively impact our entire Diocesan family and country.
I join my brother bishops throughout the United States in strongly urging Congress to act immediately to find a legislative solution. I ask that all people of goodwill join me in praying for the protection and well-being of all DACA youth, their families and all immigrants as they deal with the fear, concerns, and anxiety caused by these decisions.