BY ISN STAFF | January 14, 2015
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH – The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) joined the Jesuit Conference, Jesuit Refugee Service USA and a number of other national faith-based organizations in a sign-on letter the U.S. Congress calling for opposition to legislative action that would harm short term relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants. This week the U.S. House of Representatives will debate the Department of Homeland Security Funding Bill (H.R. 240) where amendments to repeal a recent relief program announced by the Obama administration in December, the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), but also eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which has provided relief to younger undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Citing the faith-based missions of the signing organizations representing Christians, Jews, and Sikhs, the letter expresses grave concern that the amendments would, “would destroy the lives of millions of men, women, and children living in the United States who contribute to our communities and who deserve not only short term relief from deportation.”
ISN works with a complex network of Jesuit and other Catholic institutions that have taken a definitive stance on the importance of providing relief to undocumented immigrants. In November 2014, the U.S. Jesuit Conference released a statement showing general support for the Obama administration’s executive action announcement that included the DAPA program, an extension of DACA. In 2010, the Jesuit provincials of the United States issued a public letter to Congressional leaders and President Obama calling for passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that included a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the U.S. Last July of this year over 1,200 alumni of U.S. high schools and universities sent a letter to Jesuit school alumni in the U.S. House of Representative asking for them to pass humane comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Jesuit institutional leaders have shown support for undocumented immigrants and humane immigration reform by participating in fasts, public statements, and direct support of undocumented students. In 2014, Loyola University Chicago became the first U.S. university to publicly accept undocumented medical students.
The full letter and additional signatory organizations:
Dear Member of Congress:
As representatives of the interfaith community working toward immigrant justice, we strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 240 and its accompanying amendments. We ask you to specifically oppose any amendments that would repeal important programs, such as the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or attempt to reinstate the dysfunctional Secure
Communities program. We believe that these amendments are morally indefensible and would destroy the lives of millions of men, women, and children living in the United States who contribute to our
communities and who deserve not only short term relief from deportation, but also a meaningful and realistic opportunity to earn their citizenship.
At the center of all of our varied faith traditions lies the belief in the sanctity of family. It is the core of our society and must be nourished and protected. Through our relationships with these families, we witness the fear, pain, and suffering immigrants experience daily as they live in the shadows of our society. These families contribute to our communities, contribute to our economy, contribute to our classrooms and are, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of our churches, synagogues, and temples, full brothers and sisters deserving of dignity and respect.
We hope you will oppose H.R. 240, its amendments, and any legislation that would tear families apart.
Our most marginalized brothers and sisters deserve your protection.
American Friends Service Committee
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness
Church World Service
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Ignatian Solidarity Network
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
Jewish Women International
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Metodistas Asociados Representando la Causa de los Hispano-Americanos
National Council of Jewish Women
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Pax Christi USA
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
U.S. Jesuit Conference
Voices for Freedom