Bishops Beckon Catholic Followers to Support Dreamers Amid Immigration Reform

The March 5 deadline for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is fast approaching. David McNew/Getty

With the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program set to expire in a little over a week, Catholic bishops across the U.S. have come together to organize a "National Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers."

Bishops are asking Catholics across the country to join them in calling members of Congress on Monday, February 26, to ask them to protect Dreamers, people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, from deportation.

In a statement issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, leaders of the U.S. Catholic community asked parishioners to demand that Congress take action to "protect Dreamers from deportation, to provide them a path to citizenship, and to avoid any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process."

"Our faith compels us to stand with the vulnerable, including our immigrant brothers and sisters. We have done so continually, but we must show our support and solidarity now in a special way," the statement, issued by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles and Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, read. "Now is the time for action."

Have you ever met a Dreamer? Bishop Joe Vásquez, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, introduces us to some of their stories. Help #SaveDACA and take part in a Call-in-Day on February 26 for the Protection of #Dreamers. Learn more at #sharejourney

— U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (@USCCB) February 23, 2018

The call to action comes after the U.S. Senate rejected four immigration proposals last Thursday, including two deals that would have offered some of the 1.8 million Dreamers in the U.S. a pathway to citizenship in exchange for $25 billion in funding for border security.

The three bishops said they were "deeply disappointed that the Senate was not able to come together in a bipartisan manner to secure legislative protection for the Dreamers.

"With the March 5th deadline looming, we ask once again that Members of Congress show the leadership necessary to find a just and humane solution for these young people, who daily face mounting anxiety and uncertainty," they said.

The fate of the Dreamers has been uncertain since President Donald Trump axed the Obama-era DACA program last September, giving Congress until March to come up with a new plan. While Trump set March 5 as the date for DACA to expire, the program is expected to wind down over time, rather than come to a complete halt.

The Migration Policy Institute estimates that an average of 915 work permits issued under DACA will expire daily over the two years following next week's deadline.