As was widely expected, today President Donald Trump announced that he would wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started by his predecessor, President Barack Obama. DACA, as it was known, provided protections for undocumented youth who were brought over to the country when they were too young to have a say.
“I am here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday at the Justice Department.
Sessions explained that the program will end in six months, which gives Congress a window of opportunity to pass legislation that would protect DREAMers.
In order to qualify for the program, “DREAMers” had to have a high school degree or the equivalent of one and a spotless criminal record. Some 800,000 youth qualified, who today have jobs, are attending college, started families and pursued careers. Many of them have little or no connection to the places they’re being sent to.
The decision to end DACA has been met with controversy, even from members of the evangelical community, who have reliably stood by Trump. The Washington Post detailed how Trump’s council of evangelical advisors largely urged Trump to leave DACA in place, and last week, a large group of evangelical leaders sent Trump a letter pleading with him to protect DREAMers.
Likewise, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a strong statement condemning the White House, saying the decision was “reprehensible …the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond.”
We strongly urge Congress to act and immediately resume work toward a legislative solution. We pledge our support to work on finding an expeditious means of protection for DACA youth. As people of faith, we say to DACA youth – regardless of your immigration status, you are children of God and welcome in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church supports you and will advocate for you.