The Ignatian Solidarity Network joins the U.S. Jesuit Conference in asking you to stand with undocumented brothers and sisters. This week, many elected officials in the House of Representatives are planning on compromising the safety, security, and dignity of our undocumented brothers and sisters by undoing the important steps the Obama Administration has taken to address immigration reform.
We ask that you urge your member of Congress to reject proposed amendments to HR 240, the Department of Homeland Security funding bill, that would undo President Obama’s recent actions on immigration or narrow the protections available for children and adults seeking safety in our country. TAKE ACTION NOW!
The Administration’s actions are intended to offer millions of our undocumented community members the opportunity to remain with their families and legally work in the United States without the constant fear of deportation. Legislation being discussed this week would not only undo and the newly announced Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, but would also reinstate the failed Secure Communities (SCOM) program that has reduced community safety by breaking down trust between the public and law enforcement and do away with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which has offered relief and safety to countless young immigrants.
The executive actions creating DAPA, expanding DACA and replacing SCOM are temporary and are not a substitute for a pathway to permanent status or citizenship, but they are welcome progress toward policies that promote keeping families together and allowing our valued community members to live and work in this country legally. Rather than opposing and trying to reverse this progress, we encourage all members of Congress to support the Administration’s actions and their smooth implementation and to take steps towards fixing our broken immigration system in a way that is humane, comprehensive, and just.
We also strongly condemn any efforts that would reverse life-saving anti-trafficking protections and summarily return unaccompanied children to dangerous situations. Any legislation that would roll back protections provided for in the historically bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which was signed into law by President George W. Bush, ignores the trauma that these children, especially girls, have endured, including gang conscription and sexual violence. Congress and President Bush unanimously agreed that these protections are important, and that is not less true now simply because more children are in need of them. Expediting deportations for unaccompanied children and denying them an opportunity to have their stories heard and be screened for trafficking and protection concerns, places children in harm’s way, at-risk of smuggling, gang violence, trafficking and domestic abuse.
At a moment in history when humanitarian concerns around the world are increasing, now is not the time for the U.S. Congress to narrow the protections that exist for those in grave need of refuge. Let Congress know we stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters: young people and families whose lives will be changed by DACA and DAPA, children seeking protection from violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America, and all individuals fleeing persecution who see our country as a beacon of hope, safety, and welcome. TAKE ACTION NOW!