BY ISN STAFF | January 15, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States released a statement today (1/15/15) about a series of anti-immigrant amendments attached to Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (HR 240) by the U.S. House of Representatives. The amendments called for the repeal of executive actions recently announced by President Obama as well as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which offered thousands of undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children.
The full statement from the Jesuit Conference reads:
The Jesuits of the United States have consistently sought comprehensive, humane solutions to the glaring injustices occasioned by our broken immigration system including separation of families, stolen wages, lack of observance of due process, and dangerous deportation practices.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives added a series of anti-immigrant amendments to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. The amendments are meant not only to roll back President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, but also to undo important steps forward such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Furthermore, the proposed amendments offer no constructive solutions to our current immigration challenges and will only further endanger immigrant families throughout our nation.
Therefore the Jesuit Conference strongly condemns the actions in the House yesterday. The Jesuits have always advocated for legislative solutions to the complex challenges posed by our broken immigration system. Congress has had years to act in a bi-partisan way to fix these injustices, but chose instead to sit idle as our undocumented brothers and sisters suffered. For that reason, we welcomed the Obama Administration’s executive actions on immigration as a stop-gap solution to this long-term problem. For the same reason, we oppose any efforts to undo the important protections immigrant families and community members gained under the President’s executive actions.
In response to the House’s actions yesterday, Jesuit Conference President, Very Reverend Timothy Kesicki S.J., made the following statement: “As Jesuits, we assess every piece of legislation through the lens of whether or not it improves the lives of the poor and marginalized, or whether it further undermines the justice they seek and deserve. Unfortunately, the legislation introduced in the House of Representatives does not meet that standard and therefore, we oppose it. We hope the Senate will vote down the legislation as it stands. We cannot support legislation that further endangers our undocumented brothers and sisters.”
Jesuit leadership across the United States has been deeply engaged in the immigration reform issue, standing consistently with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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.