CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 October 2018

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Court blocks Trump effort to end deferred action programme

WASHINGTON (CNS): The Supreme Court of the United States of America (US) dealt a blow to the Trump administration’s effort to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA programme in March when, on February 26, it declined to hear and rule on whether the administration has the right to shut down the initiative.
 
DACA protects young adults who were brought to the country without legal permission as minors.
 
In September 2017, the president, Donald Trump, announced that his administration was ending the programme, giving lawmakers until March 5 to find a legislative solution to protect the young adults benefiting from DACA.
 
However, two federal judges blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to end the programme, ruling the government must continue to accept renewal applications for DACA. 
 
Subsequently, in an effort to bypass the process of an appeal going through the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco, the administration asked the Supreme Court to hear and rule on one of those decisions from a judge in California.
 
The Supreme Court decision effectively negates the March 5 deadline, meaning those benefiting from DACA can continue applying to renew permits that protect them from deportation and allow them to have a work permit and other documents, as long as they meet certain criteria.
 
In a brief unsigned comment, the court said it expected the Court of Appeals “will proceed expeditiously to decide this case.”
 
The decision was announced the day the US Conference Catholic Bishops called for a National Call-in Day for the Protection of Dreamers, encouraging Catholics to call their representatives in Congress to urge support for the young adults called “Dreamers.” 
 
The name comes from the DREAM Act—the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. The legislative proposal has explored allowing qualified young people conditional residency and, down the line, permanent residency, but it has been repeatedly defeated in Congress.
 
The court’s decision may delay the end of the DACA programme, started in 2012 by former president, Barack Obama via executive order, but immigrant advocates continued to urge action to provide the young people with permanent relief.
 
“Although the Supreme Court decision buys Congress time to address the situation of undocumented youth, it should not give them an excuse to delay action,” said Kevin Appleby, senior director of international migration policy for the Centre for Migration Studies in New York. 
 
“These young people remain at risk and deserve permanent protection and a chance to plan their futures. Catholic advocates should continue to push Congress and the president to grant them a path to citizenship,” Appleby said.
 
Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, in a statement and via Twitter, warned on February 26 that the court’s decision “does not change anything.”
 
The archbishop said, “It is long past time for members of Congress to take their responsibilities seriously—seriously enough that they are willing to act with courage to negotiate and seek compromises and resist the temptation to keep using this issue for their political advantage,” adding, “People’s lives and families’ futures hang in the balance.”
 
Without legislative protection, “these young people will lose their permission to work in this country and face deportation. This is wrong and it is up to Congress to make it right,” he said.
 
“Listen to these voices of reason this coming week. (The Dreamers) are valuable members of our neighbourhoods, our workplaces and our families,” a letter from California’s bishops to the state’s congressional delegation read.
 
“They contribute to the common good and should be part of our common future as a nation,” it said.
 
Other bishops throughout the US also voiced their support during the call-in day.
 
In an opinion piece for The New York Times titled, If You’re a Patriot and a Christian, You Should Support the Dream Act, Joseph Cardinal Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, wrote that “the gospel of Jesus Christ calls on us to welcome and protect the stranger. This should not be hard to do when the stranger is young, blameless and working hard to make this country a better place.”
 
On February 27, the PICO National Network, a faith-based community organisation based in California, is scheduled to coordinate the Catholic Day of Action with Dreamers along with Faith in Public Life and a coalition of Catholic social justice organisations based in Washington. 
 
“The groups are demanding a new policy which protects Dreamers while not harming their families and communities,” the groups said in a February 26 statement.

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