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The U.S. Capitol is pictured on day 30 of a partial government shutdown, in Washington The U.S. Capitol is pictured on day 31 of a partial government shutdown, in Washington 

US Bishops plead for shutdown to end and families to be fed

As the partial shutdown of the American government continues, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the United States of America issues a statement asking that the President and other lawmakers redouble their efforts to end the shutdown.

By John Waters

The shutdown is the result of a disagreement between the Republican controlled White House and the Democrat controlled Congress. President Trump’s White house has requested funding to build a wall across the border with Mexico. They also wish to repeal laws which revoke legal protection for many illegal immigrants. The Democrat Congress has refused to approve both the wall funding and the immigration law changes. As a result, a partial shutdown of the federal government has taken place, with many “non-essential services” not be provided, due to the withholding of government money.

The statement, issued by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is president of the Catholic Bishops Conference, and Bishop Joe Vasquez, who chairs the Bishops Conference committee on Migration, begins by saying, “We urge the President and lawmakers to end the shutdown. Political leaders must come together to ensure a bipartisan solution is reached which recognizes the economic struggle that many families are facing including those dependent on federal workers and those assisted by critical nutrition and housing programs.”
The statement goes on to say that the bishops are encouraged by the temporary provisions offered to children of immigrants and calls on the government to extend further, permanent protects to children who arrived illegally with their parents. The bishops point to the fact that many child and teenage immigrants are members of Catholic parishes in the United States.

“Throughout our parishes, there are many DACA youth and TPS holders, who have lived substantial parts of their lives in the U.S. contributing to this country. We listen and understand the fear and uncertainty they and their families face and the anguish that they are currently experiencing as their existing immigration protections hang in the balance and come to an end. Temporary relief will not ease those fears or quell that anxiety. It is for this reason that we have long advocated for comprehensive immigration reform; reform that will provide permanent solutions: including border security, protection for vulnerable unaccompanied children and asylum seekers, and a defined path to citizenship to enable our immigrant brothers and sisters to fully contribute to our society.

We look forward to reviewing the President’s proposal in detail and hope to work with the White House and Congress to advance legislation that shows compassion, keeps us safe, and protects the vulnerable.”

DACA is the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals policy which allowed children of illegal immigrants to remain the US for at least 2 years and become eligible for work permits. It is one of the policies which President Trump promised to repeal during his election campaign. His efforts to repeal the policy have faced repeated legal challenges, most recently from the Democrats, who have rejected his offer of a 3 year extension of the policy, in order to help end the shutdown.

 

21 January 2019, 12:47