Archbishop to DREAMERS: ‘You are a tremendous gift!’

Archbishop Aquila

To the DREAMERS of Colorado,

I have been following closely the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and it was a great disappointment this morning to see that President Donald Trump has chosen to end the program in six months.

Read this letter in Spanish

As I said last week in a statement, the Archdiocese of Denver values the 17,000 Coloradans who have benefited from DACA, several of whom work for the Archdiocese of Denver, either at Centro San Juan Diego or in one of our parishes. Some of you are personal friends. You are a tremendous gift!

If the program as we know it ends, we will have to terminate the employment of our DREAMERS, who with their energy, enthusiasm and love for the faith have contributed in a positive manner to the Catholic Church here in northern Colorado. You are faithful workers who give of yourselves to serve others and are virtuous contributors to our society.

Unfortunately, the current situation has been brought about by the fundamental problem of congressional inaction that goes back decades and has allowed a broken immigration system to languish, leaving you and your families, already living difficult circumstances, to grapple with its failures.

We must remember, however, that the person comes before politics and ideologies of political parties. A person’s fundamental identity is that of a child of God, not their immigration status. The dignity of every human being is bestowed by God, not by society.

As Pope Francis said earlier this year, “the defense of human beings knows no barriers; we are all united in wanting to ensure a dignified life for every man, woman, child forced to abandon their land.”

And as the bishops of the United States said today, “regardless of your immigration status, you are children of God and welcome in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church supports you and will advocate for you.”

I want to echo this sentiment, and let you know that the Archdiocese of Denver is committed to working toward immigration reform, which would allow you, the DREAMERS of Colorado, to continue to work, go to school and participate in parish and civic life.

I continue to encourage all people of Colorado to act now and ask Congress to pass the DREAM Act. This is no time for partisan politics! It is time for every member of Congress to put the dignity of human persons first before their bickering over ideology.

Pray to Our Lady, asking her intercession, so that as a country we may act in the right way toward our immigrant brothers and sisters.

Be assured of my prayers for you! God bless you all,

Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop of Colorado

 

COMING UP: Archdiocese of Denver bishops lend support to DACA

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Archdiocese of Denver bishops lend support to DACA

Put people before politics, the bishops urge

Karna Swanson

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and Auxiliary Bishop Jorge H. Rodriguez released a statement Friday urging the Catholics of northern Colorado to support through action and prayer the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and the 17,000 Colorado youth who would be directly affected if President Donald Trump were to eliminate it.

Read the letter here

“As the bishops of the Archdiocese of Denver, we are writing to ask your help and prayers on behalf of our immigrant brothers and sisters,” the statement begins.

The bishops noted that DACA has allowed “approximately 800,000 undocumented youth to live, go to school and work in the United States without fear of deportation,” and that despite its success, the program could be eliminated by President Trump this week.

“Brothers and Sisters, know that the beneficiaries of DACA are children who were brought to the United States as minors. For many, the United States is the only country they know,” the bishops stated. “They have been educated here and serve in many of our parishes.

“In fact, several DACA beneficiaries work for the Archdiocese of Denver. It would be devastating for our parishes and our Catholic community if we were to lose these young people.”

The bishops urged the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Denver to “support our youth with your voice” by calling the White House in support of DACA, of supporting the bipartisan DREAM Act, and to pray.

“Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,” the prayer reads, “To banish fear from our hearts, That we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister.”

The full text of the letter follows:

To all Catholics of Northern Colorado:

As the bishops of the Archdiocese of Denver, we are writing to ask your help and prayers on behalf of our immigrant brothers and sisters, particularly the 17,000 youth of the state of Colorado, who will be directly affected by any changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President Donald Trump is considering to eliminate as early as next week.

Since its inception, DACA has allowed approximately 800,000 undocumented youth to live, go to school and work in the United States without fear of deportation. Despite the success and popularity of the program, 10 state Attorneys General have recently threatened to sue the U.S. Federal Government if President Trump doesn’t put an end to DACA, citing concerns that the program is unconstitutional. The president has until Sept. 5 to make a decision.

Brothers and Sisters, know that the beneficiaries of DACA are children who were brought to the United States as minors. For many, the United States is the only country they know. They have been educated here and serve in many of our parishes. In fact, several DACA beneficiaries work for the Archdiocese of Denver. It would be devastating for our parishes and our Catholic community if we were to lose these young people.

As Pope Francis said in his 2017 Message for the Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants, “Do not tire of courageously living the Gospel, which calls you to recognize and welcome the Lord Jesus among the smallest and most vulnerable.”

It is important to uphold the constitution, but we must always put people first in our politics. We ask that you call now, before the Sept. 5 deadline, to ask the President to remove any threat of deportation from the 800,000 beneficiaries of DACA.

And we want to encourage you to join us in supporting a bi-partisan legislative alternative to the DACA program, called the DREAM Act, which would alleviate the constitutional concerns cited by the Attorneys General.

Please, support our youth with your voice!

1. Call the White House today at 1-855-589-5698 and relay this message:

“I am calling as a concerned Catholic to strongly urge the President to maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The approximately 800,000 young immigrants who have received DACA are vital members of our parishes, communities, and nation; they should not have to live their lives in fear of deportation.”

2. Support the DREAM Act today by sending a message to your elected representative. Visit JusticeforImmigrants.org

3. Pray: Please join us in praying the following prayer, released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,
To banish fear from our hearts,
That we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister;
To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity,
While responding to their many needs;
To realize that you call all people to your holy mountain
To learn the ways of peace and justice;
To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us,
To give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.

Sincerely in Jesus Christ,

Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L.
Archbishop of Denver

Most Rev. Jorge H. Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver