BY MARY SOLBERG | FAITHLIFE
AND CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
Bishop Lawrence Persico and Erie’s Gannon University and Mercyhurst University joined the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in pushing for a legislative solution to President Donald Trump’s decision Sept. 5 to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
DACA was established through executive action in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Congress could not agree then on legislation that would have legalized youth brought to the U.S. as children.
Hours after President Trump rescinded DACA, he challenged Congress to come up with a legal way to protect DACA’s 800,000 beneficiaries.
If Congress doesn’t act in six months, Trump vowed to “revisit” the issue.
“The United States of America made promises to young people known as the ‘dreamers,’ immigrants whose parents brought them across the border into the United States before their 16th birthday,” Bishop Persico said in a statement Sept. 6.
Bishop Persico, who also is chairperson of Gannon’s board of trustees, called on lawmakers to find a legislative solution to the matter.
Mercyhurst President Michael Victor, in a statement the same day, encouraged the community to urge legislators “to seek a long-term remedy that will afford these young people the opportunity to study and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation.”
Victor added: “DACA beneficiaries at Mercyhurst University have been commendable students and their presence has enriched the learning environment for our entire community. Mercyhurst stands with its founding Sisters of Mercy, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other Catholic organizations in support of compassionate immigration reform.”
Gannon University joined Bishop Persico in his push for a compassionate solution. President Keith Taylor said: “We stand with our bishop in his call for a sound legislative solution, and we stand with our students who may be affected by the rescinding of DACA.”
Bishop Jose Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration; Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA; and Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC) have issued a letter calling on President Trump to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“Your decision to continue this program would ensure that young people can continue to work, study, and be protected from deportation while Congress debates broader legislative fixes to our broken immigration system.
“A decision to end this program would turn our nation’s back on immigrant youth who are seeking to reach their full God-given potential and fulfill the promise of gratefully giving back to the only country most have ever known,” the letter notes.