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U.S. Bishops’ President Joins Migration Chairman Urging Trump Administration to Reinstate Full DACA Program; Calls for Congressional Action

July 30, 2020

WASHINGTON – On July 28, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memorandum adding limitations to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The memorandum was issued in response to the recent 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States striking down the Trump Administration’s September 2017 attempt to end the DACA program. The new changes outlined in the memorandum would cut DACA’s youth work authorization from two years to one year and would not allow new DACA applicants.

Currently, there are approximately 670,000 DACA recipients working and studying legally in the United States, many of whom are performing essential services and are active leaders such as military veterans, academic standouts in universities, and leaders in local communities. DACA recipients are estimated to contribute $42 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration issued the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed that the Administration continues to push forward to end DACA. The Catholic Church in the United States has long advocated for the Dreamers and we will continue to stand with them. Many were brought to this country as infants and young children and they have grown up in our schools and parishes and now are making important contributions in the Church and in almost every area of American life.

“The new limits outlined in the Administration’s memorandum directly and negatively impact immigrant youth, their families, and the communities we serve. We urge the President to reinstate the original protections that DACA provides to young people currently enrolled in the program, as well as to begin accepting new prospective DACA applicants.

“Again, we turn to Congress, specifically the U.S. Senate, and exhort it to join the U.S. House of Representatives in passing legislation that provides both certainty and a path to citizenship for Dreamers.”

For more information please see the Dreamers and DACA page on the USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants website.

2020-07-30T15:28:04-04:00Statements|

Migration Chairman Calls for Prayers for Trafficking Survivors

July 29, 2020

WASHINGTON – The United Nations designated July 30 as the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons in 2013 to raise awareness of the devastating impact human trafficking has on women, men, and children and to promote survivors’ rights and human dignity. The international day is observed annually in the United States and throughout the world. There are nearly 25 million individuals trapped in modern-day slavery, according to the International Labor Organization. Human trafficking a “crime against humanity,” Pope Francis has said, because it is “an unjustifiable violation of the victims’ freedom and dignity, which are integral dimensions of the human person willed and created by God.”

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration issued the following statement:

“Today we take a moment to pray for all victims and survivors of human trafficking and to reflect upon our responsibilities as individuals and as a Church to make their well-being and protection a priority. We are renewing our call to educating about human trafficking and proclaiming the value of all human life. Pope Francis reminds us that ‘it is the responsibility of all to denounce these injustices and to firmly oppose this shameful crime.’ We are called by our Holy Father to take a firm stance against this terrible violation of the dignity of the human person and to do everything in our power to eradicate it.”

To commemorate this day and highlight Catholic organizations working to prevent and eliminate all forms of human trafficking, the USCCB will host a webinar at 1pm Eastern on July 30. Registration for the webinar can be found here and resources on raising awareness and fighting trafficking may be found on the Justice for Immigrants website and www.usccb.org/stopslavery.

2020-07-29T11:14:45-04:00Statements|

U.S. Bishops Urge President to Rescind Divisive Memorandum Excluding Undocumented from Inclusion in Apportionment of U.S. House of Representative Seats

July 22, 2020

WASHINGTON –On July 21, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce ordering that undocumented people counted in the 2020 Census be excluded from consideration when determining the number of U.S. Representatives each state is allotted in the U.S. House of Representatives. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration issued the following statement:

“As we have stated before, we urge all people to be counted and fully included in the Census.   Counting the undocumented in the Census and then denying them and the states in which they reside their rightful representation in Congress is counter to the Constitution and a grave injustice. Furthermore, such a policy makes people feel invisible and not valued as human beings.”

“This action is simply wrong and divisive. We follow the lead of Pope Francis, who has noted that in the face of ‘profound and epochal changes’ that the present moment offers ‘a precious opportunity to guide and govern the processes now under way, and to build inclusive societies based on respect for human dignity, tolerance, compassion and mercy.’ We urge the President to rescind this Memorandum and instead, to undertake efforts to protect and heal our nation and all who are living in our country.”

To learn more about participation in the U.S. Census and information-sharing visit the Justice for Immigrants website.

2020-07-22T17:23:24-04:00Statements|

Migration Committee Chairman Opposes Proposed New Rule Seeking to Eliminate Protection for Asylum Seekers Fleeing Violence

July 14, 2020

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) issued new proposed rules on asylum on June 15 with comments due on July 15. The new proposed rules would, among other changes: allow immigration judges to summarily deny applications before the asylum-seeker can see a judge; redefine the term “particular social group” in asylum law to effectively eliminate asylum for those fleeing domestic violence or gangs; and raise standards for initial asylum interviews. The following statement was made by Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration:

“These proposed asylum regulations will have devastating consequences for those seeking protection in the United States who are fleeing domestic violence or persecution from gangs in their home countries. The Catholic Church teaches us to look at the root causes of migration, poverty, violence, and corruption. Pope Francis reminds us that ‘we must keep our eyes open …, keep our hearts open …, to remind everyone of the indispensable commitment to save every human life, a moral duty that unites believers and non-believers.’ We cannot turn our backs on the vulnerable.”

Read the USCCB’s comment on the proposed asylum rule on the Conference’s website.

To learn more about asylum and root causes of migration, visit the Justice for Immigrants website.

2020-07-14T11:38:59-04:00Statements|

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman on the 20th Anniversary of World Refugee Day

June 19, 2020

WASHINGTON—World Refugee Day, first celebrated in 2000 is observed in the United States and around the world on June 20. The observance was created two decades ago to increase awareness about the situation of refugees around the world. Currently, the world faces the biggest forced migration crisis since World War II, with more than 70 million people forcibly displaced, which includes 25 million refugees around the world, including 13 million refugee children.

The Presidential Determination for determining the number of refugees resettled in the United States was set at an all-time low for the third consecutive year with a total of 18,000 refugees for 2020. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the related shutdown of the refugee program at this time, very few refugees will be able to access protection in the United States this year. On the 20th anniversary of World Refugee Day, in response to the growing number of refugees globally, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration issued the following statement:

“Now, more than ever we need to protect and accompany our refugee brothers and sisters. There are too many vulnerable people currently unable to flee persecution who are living in dire circumstances, exacerbated no doubt by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Pope Francis reminds us, ‘we cannot remain insensitive, our hearts deadened, before the misery of so many innocent people. We must not fail to weep. We must not fail to respond.’

“Of particular concern are the most vulnerable of refugees: women, children, the elderly, the infirm, and individuals with special needs. Refugees fleeing religious persecution also continue to face violence, and in some cases, death for practicing their faith. We recognize refugees’ and our own human fragility, and as such, urge a more humane and compassionate embrace of those seeking refuge in our communities, in our country and in our world.”

More information on World Refugee Day, please visit Justice for Immigrants.

 

2020-06-19T11:09:12-04:00Statements|

USCCB President and Migration Committee Welcome Supreme Court Decision on DACA and Urge President to Uphold the Program

June 18, 2020

WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion preventing the Trump Administration from terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On November 12, 2019, the Court heard the challenge to the Trump Administration’s DACA repeal efforts, in which U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of maintaining the program. The DACA program was implemented in 2012 and has enabled approximately 800,000 young people, who paid a fee and submitted to a background check, the opportunity to work legally, access educational opportunities and not fear deportation. DACA recipients on average contribute over $42 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the USCCB and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’ Committee on Migration issued the following statement:

“We welcome the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision noting that the Trump Administration did not follow proper administrative procedures required to repeal the DACA program.

“First, to DACA youth, through today’s decision and beyond, we will continue to accompany you and your families. You are a vital part of our Church and our community of faith. We are with you.

“Next, we urge the President to strongly reconsider terminating DACA. Immigrant communities are really hurting now amidst COVID-19 and moving forward with this action needlessly places many families into further anxiety and chaos. In times of uncertainty, let us remember the teachings of the Gospel which encourage us to be open and receptive to those in need: ‘If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him?’ (1 John 3:17). In this moment, we must show compassion and mercy for the vulnerable.”

“Lastly, we strongly encourage our U.S. Senators to immediately pass legislation that provides a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Permanent legislative protection that overcomes partisanship and puts the human dignity and future of Dreamers first is long overdue.”

For more information and resources on DACA see https://justiceforimmigrants.org/what-we-are-working-on/immigration/daca-resource-page.

2020-06-18T12:04:23-04:00Statements|

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Urges Passage of Legislation to Protect Dreamers and TPS Holders on One Year Anniversary of House Passage of H.R.6

June 4, 2020

WASHINGTON— One year ago today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R.6), which provides a pathway to citizenship for those who were brought to the United States as children by their parents (“Dreamers”), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders. In the year since the passage of H.R.6, there has been no action in the U.S. Senate to advance permanent legislative protection for Dreamers and TPS holders. Today, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration released the following statement:

“One year ago, today the House of Representatives passed H.R.6, a bill offering a pathway to citizenship to Dreamers, TPS and DED holders. Today, sadly, Dreamers and TPS holders remain vulnerable and without permanent legal status. This continued uncertainty for Dreamers and TPS holders comes at a time during the COVID-19 pandemic when many Dreamers and TPS holders are, alongside U.S. citizens, on the frontlines providing essential work for our country in health care, food supply, and transportation. For example, currently, more than 62,000 workers who are DACA-eligible are working in healthcare.

“As we await a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on the legality of ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, we again call on the Senate to push forward with legislation that provides a path to citizenship for these individuals, who are essential to our communities, our Church and our country.”

2020-06-04T17:31:49-04:00Statements|

Catholic Leaders Respond to Administration’s Halt to Immigration with a Call for Unity in the Effort to Overcome COVID-19

WASHINGTON – Responding to the proclamation signed by President Trump announcing a temporary reviewable immigration halt, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, and Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento and chair of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), issued the following response:

“In this moment, our common humanity is apparent more now than ever. The virus is merciless in its preying upon human life; it knows no borders or nationality. Pope Francis teaches us that to live through these times we need to employ and embody the ‘creativity of love.’  The President’s action threatens instead to fuel polarization and animosity. While we welcome efforts to ensure that all Americans are recognized for the dignity of their work, the global crisis caused by COVID-19 demands unity and the creativity of love, not more division and the indifference of a throw-away mentality. There is little evidence that immigrants take away jobs from citizens.  Immigrants and citizens together are partners in reviving the nation’s economy. We must always remember that we are all sons and daughters of God joined together as one human family.

“We are extremely concerned about how the proclamation will impact immigrant families looking to reunify, as well as religious workers. The proclamation prevents certain immigrant family members from reuniting with their loved ones living in the United States. Additionally, it bars religious workers seeking to come to the United States as lawful permanent residents from supporting the work of our Church, as well as many other religions, at this time. This will undoubtedly hurt the Catholic Church and other denominations in the United States, diminishing their overall ability to minister to those in need.”

2020-04-23T18:24:26-04:00Statements|

U.S. Bishop Chairmen Voice Opposition to Proclamation That Further Restricts Immigration and Family Reunification

February 2, 2020

WASHINGTON — The President issued a proclamation Friday restricting the issuance of immigrant visas to people from Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria. People from Sudan and Tanzania will no longer be eligible for certain visas to come to the United States, commonly called “Diversity Visas.”

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento and chairman of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., along with Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA issued the following statement strongly disagreeing with the administration’s latest action:

“The proclamation restricting immigration further undermines family reunification efforts and will make ensuring support for forced migrants in the designated countries more difficult. This proclamation also serves as a painful reminder of the 2017 ban which threatened our country’s founding principle of religious freedom. Over the last three years, waivers to allow visas from current travel ban nations based on undue hardship (such as family illness) were supposed to be available but were almost never authorized. We note with particular sadness and have witnessed firsthand the trauma of family separation that occurs with travel bans, which will only increase with this new proclamation.

“We respect that there are challenges in assuring traveler documentation and information exchange between countries as a means to ensure the safety of citizens. However, we also believe that ill-conceived nation-based bans such as this injure innocent families. As the bishops’ conference president Archbishop José Gomez has stated. . . , ‘Welcoming families has allowed our country to integrate successive immigrant generations into the fabric of American life, allowing them to contribute their faith, values and talents to make this country great.’

“We urge the administration to reverse this action and consider the human and strategic costs of these harmful bans.”

2020-02-03T14:15:26-05:00Statements|

U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Very Concerned About Impact of Recent Supreme Court Decision on Public Charge

January 29, 2020

WASHINGTON—On January 27, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision allowing the Trump Administration to implement its “public charge” rule everywhere in the United States (except Illinois) while litigation challenging the legality of the rule proceeds through the federal courts. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision allowing the Administration to move forward with implementing its new changes to the ‘public charge’ while lawsuits are still pending is very concerning, as it will have an immediate and negative impact upon immigrant and newcomer families. In our experience serving the poor and vulnerable, we know that many immigrant families lawfully access important medical and social services that are vital to public health and welfare. There is already misinformation about the ‘public charge’ rule circulating in immigrant communities, and this decision will further deter families eligible for assistance from coming forward to access the services they need, such as nutrition assistance and housing. The Supreme Court’s decision will have devastating consequences for immigrant communities, as those impacted are cast into the shadows because they fear deportation and family separation for seeking critical support. . . The Church upholds the dignity of all human life, and the Gospel compels us to serve those who are in need, regardless of their circumstances. Preventing anyone from having access to life-saving services is contrary to our belief that all life is sacred from its beginning to its end.

“We note yesterday’s Supreme Court decision focuses solely on the preliminary injunction and, as such, we remain hopeful that the courts will declare the ‘public charge’ rule illegal. The Church will redouble public education efforts to ensure that immigrant families, and our direct services networks which assist them, are educated about this rule and its impacts. We remain steadfast in Pope Francis’s call to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

2020-01-29T17:11:11-05:00Statements|