Immigration, youth and family

January 29, 2018-Reading time: 2 minutes

The immigration debate is growing in the United States. The Administration has announced the repeal of the DACA plan to protect young undocumented children of immigrants, while the bishops support the young people and their families.

GREG ERLANDSON

-Director and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service

@GregErlandson

The United States has been consumed in recent years by the immigration debate. Congress has not implemented major reform of its immigration policy since 1986. Since then, changes have focused primarily on border security and concerns about terrorism.

The consistent message from the U.S. bishops has been that border protection is a legitimate duty of government, but that just reform of the immigration system must recognize the reality of the millions of undocumented immigrants and their families living here now.

"There's no avoiding the hard truth that our immigration system is broken, it's broken comprehensively, in all the areas", said Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, a leading voice among bishops on immigration. Gomez has repeatedly spoken out against the breaking up of families by immigration authorities, saying that "deportation alone is not an immigration policy."

Meanwhile, a far-reaching problem has arisen around the 800,000 undocumented young people who were brought to the United States by their parents. They are known as "dreamers" because of their faith in the American dream. Most are employed, attending school, or serving in the U.S. military.

President Obama issued an executive order in 2012 to protect these children from deportation. Known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the order has been deemed an overreach of presidential authority. President Trump has announced its repeal, ending the program next March. At the same time, he has asked the U.S. Congress to put in place protections for DACA youth before the program ends, something Congress has been unable to do for years.

The U.S. bishops have spoken out strongly in support of DACA youth. Recently, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement urging Catholics to contact their political representatives to support legislative protection for these young people.

Pope Francis has also entered the debate on his return from his trip to Colombia. He has noted that President Trump describes himself as "a good pro-lifer"so if it is "if he is a good pro-lifer, he understands that the family is the cradle of life and must be defended.".

The authorGreg Erlandson

Journalist, author and editor. Director of Catholic News Service (CNS)

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