President Trump’s decision to end the DACA, (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) program is a matter of grave concern. The immigrants in question were brought to the United States at such a young age that a great many have no memory or experience of any home but America. These “DACA youth” currently live and work among us as contributing members of American society. While DACA was never a permanent solution it did provide as many as 800,000 innocent people with a measure of relief from the constant fear of deportation, oftentimes to a foreign country where they have no family, no support, and no personal history. Along with the bishops of our Nation, I stand in solidarity with these youth who have committed no personal crime and are now in grave peril of deportation to a foreign country.
I believe we must acknowledge that immigration has become one of the most contentious issues in American politics. However, many of our Nation’s greatest moments have been revealed when we have risen above contention and chosen the path of justice tempered with mercy. It is in these moments that we have been a bright light for the rest of the world. I believe in America, and I believe in our legislators’ ability to carve out a just protection for these very vulnerable young people. While consensus on many aspects of a comprehensive immigration policy remains elusive, it is my hope that people of different perspectives can agree that immigrants brought to America as children should not be deported and sent back to a place they may have no memory of. It is prudent for us to call to mind the teaching of our Savior, “what you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me.”
I urge the people of the Salina Diocese to call upon our representatives in the United States Senate and House of Representatives to seek a solution that is both fair and generous—a solution that does not punish innocent children for the actions of their parents, but rather one that upholds America’s founding values and highest ideals.
Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger
September 6, 2017