By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Bishop Joe Vásquez, Bishop of Austin Texas, and Chairman of the US Bishops’ Committee on Migration wrote to the US House of Representatives on Wednesday, urging quick passage of the “Uniting and Securing America” Act.
Moral duty to protect Dreamers
The bill specifically addresses the protection of the “Dreamers”, who the US Bishops have supported. “It is our moral duty and in our nation’s best interest to protect Dreamers”, Bishop Vásquez wrote.
In his letter, Bishop Vásquez expresses support for the legislation, “as it is written”, while acknowledging that “a larger solution is still needed to fix our broken immigration system”.
In a separate statement issued by Bishop Vásquez, he said that he and other bishops daily witness the “constant anxiety of Dreamer youth and their families”. Thus they are pleading with Congress to provide an “immediate and durable solution to this problem”.
Provisions of the new legislation
Accompanying material found on the US Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants website, says that the Act was drafted by a Republican and a Democrat and is co-sponsored by groups from both parties. It would provide 1.8 million qualifying Dreamers with a path toward citizenship. Increasing US/Mexico border protection through new technology and the development of a strategic plan are also included in the bill.
The Bishops say that while the bill is “not perfect” it is a step toward protecting Dreamers, while providing “reasonable” border security measures without “the building of a wall”.