By Lisa Zengarini
The US Bishops have welcomed a District Court decision to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the United States immigration programme that allows qualified individuals who were brought illegally to the Country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit. DACA was introduced under the Obama's Presidency, but in 2017 the Trump Administration announced a plan to dismantle it, triggering multiple lawsuits.
Catholic Church's commitment to stand with 'Dreamers'
On December 4 the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordered the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to reinstate the entire programme as from December 7. In a statement issued on December 8, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration welcomed the the decision. “We are particularly pleased that with this ruling, youth who are first-time applicants are allowed to apply for the program for the first time since 2017. The DACA program directly benefits immigrant youth, their families, and the communities we serve”, reads the statement, which reiterates the Catholic Church commitment to stand with the so-called “Dreamers” to ensure they reach their potential in the United States. Dreamers are the intended beneficiaries of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act), the by-partitan law which was introduced in 2011 to grant legal residency in the US to young immigrants who entered the country illegally as children and have graduated from US high schools or were honorably discharged from the military and if they have passed a background check.
A new chapter of possibility on the issue of immigration
The statement also once again urges the U.S. Congress to take up and pass legislation granting Dreamers a path to citizenship, for which US Bishops have been advocating for years: “We hope the reinstatement of DACA begins a new chapter of possibility on the issue of immigration, including the introduction and passage of legislative reform by Congress that addresses our broken immigration system. We will continue to advocate for reform that values family unity, honours due process and the rule of law, recognizes the contributions of workers, protects the vulnerable fleeing persecution, and addresses the root causes of migration”, Bishop Dorsonville concludes.