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Support the BRIGDE Act for Young Immigrants January 18th, 2017

I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:35

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate JPIC joins other faith organizations including US Catholic Bishops in urging that members of Congress lead by example and compassion by co-sponsoring the BRIDGE Act. This bipartisan effort will ensure the safety and dignity of nearly one million young immigrants who are contributing to our communities and love this country, but who may be at risk for deportation.

Created in 2012 through executive action, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to come out of the shadows, work, attend school and be protected from deportation. Another executive action can easily end the program.

BRIDGE ACT “Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy” is a bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in an effort to provide temporary relief to young people currently protected from detention and deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, should DACA be rescinded.

As people of faith, we believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, especially children. These young immigrants entered the United States as children and know America as their only home. BRIDGE Act would help to protect DACA youth from deportation and prevent the devastation that comes with family separation.

Join us by urging your members of Congress to co-sponsor the BRIDGE Act. Let them send a strong message that withdrawing DACA has moral and economic consequences for communities.

Find your members of Congress by going to this website:

In his message for the 2017 World Day for Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis calls special attention to child migrants; “The rights of children are a cause for special concern, as among migrants, women and children are particularly vulnerable. Children especially are often “invisible” because they lack documents or arrive in new countries without accompaniment.”

A Disappointing Ruling For Millions Of Immigrants June 23rd, 2016

SpremeCourtLesterBy a 4-4 split, the U.S Supreme Court has ruled against President Barack Obama’s immigration plan – Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The two initiatives were announced by President Obama to provide some deportation relief and work permits to qualified undocumented immigrants. This means the decision by a lower court upholding the preliminary injunction against these immigration relief measures will stand.

“It is very sad indeed to see that this process is caught up in partisan politics and what continued inaction will mean for immigrant families,” said U.S Missionary Oblates Provincial Fr. Bill Antone, OMI. “These decisions open the door to serious injustices in which talented young immigrants who have grown up in the U.S. and their precious parents and families are torn apart by deportation simply to satisfy short-sighted political interests.”  

Missionary Oblates JPIC joins other faith communities, religious leaders and immigrant rights groups in expressing deep disappointment with this ruling. Earlier this year, diverse faith based organizations joined in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of these two executive orders to provide deferred action for millions of undocumented families. 

The fact is DAPA and DACA would have helped millions of immigrant families to stop living with the constant threat of family deportation.

“Deferred Action to Help Young Immigrants” Turns One Year Old August 16th, 2013

DACA-Banner-ENGLISHIt has been a year since President Obama issued Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a presidential initiative designed to grant a two-year reprieve from deportation and offer work authorization to young undocumented immigrants. U.S. Immigration Offices first accepted applications for DACA on August 15, 2012. DACA does not provide a path to permanent legal status but does allow young immigrants to obtain work permits. For the thousands of undocumented immigrants who have received this relief, the initiative has created an opportunity to obtain work and education without fear of deportation.

If you have questions about DACA, go to the US Government website on Immigration to find answers. Here are a few of the basics:

What are the requirements to apply for Deferred Action?

You must be younger than 31 as of June 15th, 2012; Entered the United States before your 16th birthday; Present in the United States on June 15th, 2012; Continuously resided in the United States for at least five years; Currently enrolled in school, completed high school in the U.S., achieved a GED or were honorably discharged from the United States military or Coast Guard; And not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not arising from the same act or scheme of misconduct or are otherwise seen as posing a national security or public safety threat. For help with your application visit our application services page.

What are the risks involved in applying for Deferred Action?

The primary risk involved in applying for Deferred Action is that you are exposing yourself as an illegal immigrant to the United States government. If you feel that your case is particularly complicated or you have had a strange history or record in the U.S., you may want to consider using a competent immigration attorney.

As DACA turns a year old, this initiative is something to celebrate. However, more action is needed, especially by the U.S. House of Representatives. Many of these legalized young immigrants continue to live with the fear that their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters may face deportation in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform. For the faith community, the coming months are important. When Congress returns to Washington, D.C. in September, we need to call, once again, for action to address the need for comprehensive immigration reform, which we see as a humanitarian issue with moral implications.

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