California Catholic bishops urge immigration reform for DACA youth and their families

In anticipation of the Trump administration's announcement Sept. 5 terminating the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program in six months, the Catholic Bishops of California released the following statement Sept. 4. DACA is a program to temporarily suspend deportation proceedings in the case of undocumented young persons brought to the United States as minors, many of whom have no memory of being raised in any other country but the United States. It is estimated that 800,000 people are covered under this program, 200,000 of them in California alone.

"The Catholic Bishops of California believe, along with many of our fellow Californians, that immigrant youth and their families are a critical part of California's future vitality. We will continue to believe in them, pray for them, and work with them for a society where all God's children may enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We invite all who share this dream to join us as sentinels of hope for the hundreds of thousands of young people who have registered or are eligible for the DACA program. While the decision of the administration may eclipse our common aspirations for them, we should not let our confidence be diminished. We have faith that this momentary shadow will pass and our hopeful light will continue to burn brightly.

"Sustaining the status of DACA students against the current threats is imperative but more must be done. We urge all responsible political leadership at the state and federal level to work for comprehensive immigration reform and to put meaningful and effective immigration reform on the President's desk before the DACA program expires. This is the most reasonable and sustainable remedy for the DACA students and their families, and for all immigrants.

"DACA was from the beginning a tentative and tenuous attempt to ameliorate the frustrating circumstances for many undocumented young men and women who through no fault of their own found themselves falling through the cracks of a broken immigration system and rejected by the only country they know as home...."

At a morning news conference Sept. 5 at the Newman Catholic Center in Sacramento, Bishop Jaime Soto gave remarks about the DACA program, joined by college students who would be affected by the administration's action rescinding DACA. "Yesterday this nation paused from its labors to honor our greatest resource, the working men and women of America," Bishop Soto said. "Throughout our history, immigrants have strengthened and renewed each generation of American workers. Despite the discouragement of today's announcement rescinding DACA, my brother bishops and I continue to have hope in the young immigrant men and women. Many have already contributed much to this country by their labors and are preparing to do more. As DACA recipients face the future with uncertainty, may our enduring support give them cause to hope."

To view the text of the California bishops' statement, visit the PDFs below.

To view a Sept. 5 statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops visit