At the end of summer, the President delayed the promised administrative action on deportation relief, pledging to implement it for “after the November elections”.
Now, that the elections have taken place, it is very likely that the President will act, in spite of the continuing unfavorable political climate. [Will it ever be favorable?] Any further delay would undermine the President’s credibility to a very damaging point. We hope that action is indeed forthcoming, because every month of delay results in tens of thousands of fathers, mothers, children being deported and separated from their families. Can we continue to remain indifferent?
In September, the US Bishops, through Justice for Immigrants, conveyed to the Administration the category of migrants needing protection, which they hope the President will consider when taking action. After excluding those who have committed serious crimes, they specifically requested deportation relief for the following groups:
(1) Immigrants with strong community ties and equities in the United States and have lived in the United States for ten years or longer
(2) Parents of U.S. citizens
(3) Parents of recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
(4) Individuals residing in the United States with already approved family and employment petitions.
Estimates of how many people are included in the above categories vary – they are probably several million.
Why do our Bishop get involved with such a controversial issue as Immigration? The reason is that undocumented migrants live in our communities, go to our churches and the Bishops, as pastors responsible for the wellbeing of their flock, have to speak-up against the injustices that undocumented migrants suffer, such as the break-up of families, or lengthy imprisonment and deportation for simply being here undocumented.
In addition, in recent weeks, Justice for Immigrants communicated another deep concern of the US Bishops: private prisons in New Mexico and Texas detaining undocumented Central America mothers and children in horrible conditions, after separation from male members of their families. These are refugees escaping targeted violence in their home countries. Overcrowding, lack of privacy, lack of recreational space, etc. are damaging for the children’s psychology and health. The Bishops have proposed letting these migrants join relatives already residing in the US or implementing community based models, as an alternatives to detention, which would be more humane, far less costly and more efficient.
Justice for Immigrants requested that we call the White House every day and urge others in your networks to call as well.
The toll-free number to use to call the White House is 1-855-589-5698 and the message suggested by Justice for Immigrants is simple: “Protect as many immigrants and their families as possible from deportation”.