Catholic Bishops Support Legislation to Sustain DACA Program for Undocumented Young People


BY ISN STAFF | December 28, 2016

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) spoke out in support of the BRIDGE Act, legislation that would provide temporary relief from deportation for young people without documentation currently enrolled or able to enroll in the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Addressing U.S. Senators in a letter dated December 22, 2016, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, called on the Senators to support the legislation introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) in the 114th Congress, who plan to re-introduce it during the 115th Congress after the New Year. Bishop Vásquez emphasized that the BRIDGE Act nor the DACA program are long-term solutions to our country’s immigration reality and that our country “desperately needs” larger immigration policy reforms. The text of Bishop Vásquez’s full letter can be found below.


Senator Durbin speaks on the Senate floor in 2015 about Maria Ibarra-Frayre a 2012 University of Detroit Mercy graduate and DACA program recipient.

President-Elect Trump suggested throughout the presidential campaign that ending the DACA program would be one of his first acts in office, though his tone lightened in recent weeks, including statements of concern for “young people” during an interview with Time Magazine where he said, “We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud. They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.” There are currently approximately 700,000 individuals enrolled in the DACA program, with an estimated 1.3 million eligible.

Jesuit college and university leaders issued a public statement in support of undocumented students in late-November, one of many statements and public letters to elected leaders calling for the protection of undocumented students and the retention of the DACA program.



December 22, 2016

Dear Senator,

I write you on behalf of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB/COM) in support of S. 3542, the “Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act,” bipartisan legislation that was introduced late in the 114th Congress by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL). We ask that you consider cosponsoring this important measure when it is reintroduced during the 115th Congress.

As you may know, the BRIDGE Act would provide temporary relief from deportation and ensure employment authorization to individuals who are eligible for the Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It would accomplish this by providing DACA-eligible individuals with “provisional protected presence” and employment authorization. Applicants would be required to pay a reasonable fee, be subject to criminal background checks, and meet a number of eligibility criteria indicating that they: (1) came to the United States as minors, (2) grew up in this country, (3) have pursued an education or have served in the military, (4) have not committed any serious crimes, and (5) do not pose a threat to our country. Temporary protection under the BRIDGE Act would ensure that these young people can continue to work and study and be protected from deportation while Congress debates broader legislation to fix our broken immigration system.

There are more than 740,000 young people who have received and benefitted from DACA. They are contributors to our economy, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes. As Catholics, we support DACA as we believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, especially that of our children. These young people entered the U.S. as children and know America as their only home.

While we endorse the BRIDGE Act and support DACA youth, we note that DACA and the provisional protected presence status in the measure are temporary substitutes for larger legislative reform of our immigration laws that our country so desperately needs. We vow to work with Congress and the new Administration to reform our immigration system in a humane and common-sense manner. However, in the meantime, enactment of the BRIDGE Act would help ensure that these young individuals who were brought to the United States as children and are contributing so much to our nation can continue to live their lives free of the anxiety that they could at any time be deported to a country they do not know and separated from their families.

Most Reverend Joe Vásquez
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration

3 replies
  1. shelley bella
    shelley bella says:

    With all due respect, I wish the USCCB would spend more time sharing the Gospel! Look at the sins that our priests and parishioners are in. There is adultery, divorce, abortion, fornication,homosexuality, and so forth going on. A country has a right to protect its borders and enforce immigration. The fact is that the USCCB, Catholic Charities, and Catholic Campaign for Human Development are getting billions of our tax dollars in the form of federal grants every year. The bishops need to start decrying the sins of the current generation. Why doesn’t the USCCB call for latin America to start taking better care of their people? Why is America responsible for housing the world? We really need to pray for our USCCB, priests, and parishioners. Our church have become infiltrated with communist teaching through the means of “social justice”. We need to pray that our leaders repent and start spreading the Gospel to the end of the earth.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] the U.S. as children, offering benefits similar to those currently received by DACA recipients. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and Ignatian Solidarity Network have all publicly […]

  2. […] the U.S. as children, offering benefits similar to those currently received by DACA recipients. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and Ignatian Solidarity Network have all publicly […]

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