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Bishop Says Trump Proposals Do Not Reflect U.S. Immigration Tradition

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Bishop Says Trump Proposals Do Not Reflect U.S. Immigration Tradition

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Trump administration’s newly released immigration policy proposals “do not provide the way forward for comprehensive immigration reform rooted in respect for human life and dignity, and for the security of our citizens,” said Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas.

“They are not reflective of our country’s immigrant past, and they attack the most
vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children and many others who flee persecution,” the bishop said in an Oct. 10 statement as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.

“Most unfortunately, the principles fail to recognize that the family is the fundamental
building block of our immigration system, our society and our church,” Bishop Vasquez said.

His remarks came in response to a 70-point immigration policy proposal from President Donald Trump released the evening of Oct. 8.

Bishop Vasquez also urged Congress to act quickly on a bill to legalize the Obama-era
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, and allow the approximately 800,000 youth — known as “Dreamers” — who have benefited from DACA
stay in the country.

“We exhort Congress to take up legislation and move forward promptly to ensure true
protection for Dreamers once and for all,” the bishop said.

Trump said that in any bill to legalize DACA, Congress must include funding for a
U.S-Mexico border wall and more Border Patrol agents — as laid out in his policy proposals — or he won’t sign such a measure.

On Sept. 5, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the program, which
began under then-President Barack Obama in 2012, would end under the Trump

DACA provides a work permit and temporary reprieve from deportation for youth
brought to the U.S. as children without legal permission, if they meet certain criteria. Sessions said the program was “unilateral executive amnesty,” and said its beneficiaries had taken away jobs from “hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

Trump campaigned on a promise that he’d get rid of the DACA program, but after
Sessions’ announcement on ending the program, Trump was working with Democrats
to find a way to help the “Dreamers” stay in the country.

Late Sept. 13, the two top Democrats in Congress, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California,
the minority leader in the House of Representatives, and Sen. Chuck Schumer of
New York, the minority leader in the Senate, said they met with the president
to hash out a deal, and they reportedly had agreed to “a fix.”

Since the release of Trump’s 70-point immigration proposal, Pelosi and Schumer have said any DACA deal with Trump was off. Trump’s proposal includes 27 different
suggestions on border security; 39 improvements to enforcement on immigration
laws in the U.S.; and four major changes to the legal immigration system.

“Since July, Congress has introduced
legislative solutions for Dreamers, including the Dream Act,” Bishop Vasquez said
in his statement. “The administration should focus attention on ensuring that a legislative solution for Dreamers is found as soon as possible.

“Every day that passes without that solution, these youth experience growing
apprehension for their futures and their families,” he continued. “Each passing
day brings us all a step closer to March 2018, when DACA recipients will begin
to lose legal work privileges, and far worse, face the threat of deportation and family separation.”

Bishop Vasquez added: “Together with so many others of goodwill, we shall continue to
offer welcome and support to these remarkable young people, and we shall not
stop advocating for their permanent protection and eventual citizenship.”


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