The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Tuesday pledged support to people enrolled in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an immigration program that President Trump is rescinding.
The USCCB’s president, vice president and chairmen released a statement Tuesday denouncing the Trump administration’s decision to end the Obama-era program, which protects people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children from being deported. These children are commonly referred to as “Dreamers.”
The bishops called the cancellation of the program “reprehensible.”
“It causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families,” the USCCB said.
DACA recipients came into the U.S. as minors, and many know America as their only home, the statement said.
“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,” it said.
“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.”
The organization said the Trump administration’s decision to end the program marks a step backward for the country.
“Today’s actions represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future,” the statement said.
“DACA youth are woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American youth.”
The conference called for Congress to find a solution in the wake of the administration’s decision.
“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,” the statement said.
“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.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday the administration was ending the DACA program.
President Trump released a statement that called former President Obama’s creation of the program unconstitutional.
“There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will,” Trump said.