Catholic church leaders, immigration officials and university presidents were swift and unanimous in their condemnation of President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals known as DACA.
“In the past, the president stated that the Dreamer story ‘is about the heart,’ yet (the) decision is nothing short of heartless,” said Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich. “The Dreamers are now left in a six-month limbo, during which Congress is supposed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, a feat they have been unable to achieve for a decade,” he said.
The cancellation of DACA, announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, places an estimated 800,000 undocumented immigrants, many of whom were brought to the United States as young children and have known no other home, under threat of deportation and losing permits that allow them to work. From August through December, according to the Department of Homeland Security, the work permits of more than 200,000 DACA recipients will expire and only 55,258 have submitted requests for permit renewals.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the US bishops’ conference, said in a statement with other bishops: “The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and a determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education.
“Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation. This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans.”
Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, called the decision “malicious.”
“One can’t hide behind the term ‘legality’ in rescinding DACA,” his statement added. “That is an abandonment of humanity, and abandonment of talented and hopeful young people who are as American as you and I.”