By Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
In a statement issued on Friday, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration, writes: “We welcome the Administration’s proposal to include a path to citizenship for Dreamers. However, the proposed cuts to family immigration and elimination of protections to unaccompanied children are deeply troubling.”
The statement come days after the January 25 publication of the White House Framework on Immigration Reform & Border Security.
The White House proposal
The White House proposal clears the way for approximately 1.8 million Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to obtain citizenship over a 10-12 year period. This proposal leaves out approximately half of the estimated 3.6 million Dreamers who do not meet the DACA criteria.
In addition, the proposal would also limit family sponsorship of citizens and legal permanent residents to spouses and children who are minors.
The U.S. Bishops’ position
As expressed by Bishop Vásquez: “Family immigration is part of the bedrock of our country and of our Church.” He emphasizes the centrality to the Christian faith of “upholding and protecting the family unit, regardless of its national origins.”
DACA’s March 5 deadline is fast approaching and Republicans and Democrats are sharply divided on the issue.
Bishop Vásquez calls on elected officials to reach a bipartisan solution moving toward the enactment of legislation because “time is of the essence.” Delaying legislation risks affecting the lives of millions of young people who see with every passing day the loss of "their livelihood and their hope," he said.