Salt Lake City, UTAH – Bishop Oscar Solis, installed 10th bishop here on March 7, has issued a statement on behalf of the Diocese of Salt Lake City regarding the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind DACA Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an administrative relief from deportation which protects eligible immigrant youth from deportation.
Past president Barack Obama created the program in June 2012, through an executive order. The average DACA recipient, according to a survey by the Center for American Progress and the University of California, San Diego, came to the United States at the age of six. Most of them are now in their 20s. They have no criminal record and 91 percent are employed.
In February, President Donald Trump said he would treat the “incredible kids” who have been protected by DACA “with heart.” At the end of August, he made a statement at the Oval Office, “We love the Dreamers” and “We think the Dreamers are terrific.” On Tuesday, Sept. 5, he’s scheduled to make a statement putting an end to DACA – some 800,000 law-abiding, longtime residents of the United States could be in danger of deportation.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops early on Sept. 5, appealed for a spirit of hospitality, stating “Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:37). “Today’s actions, stated Solis, represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future.”
Bishop Solis, 63, from Nueva Ecija, is the first FilAm bishop ordained in the United States, and is the first FilAm and first Asian American to lead the diocese in Utah. “The Catholic Diocese of Sal Lake City,” he said,” is saddened by the administration’s decision to abandon immigrant youth in our nation. We believe in the rule of law,” he added, “but we also have a moral obligation to protect the life and dignity of every human being, including youth brought to the United States in their parents’ hope of finding opportunity and safety for their children. The young people who qualified for the limited protections of DACA were innocent children with no intent to violate our laws. They are part of the fabric of our society and nation. Many have achieved their dreams of undergraduate and graduate degrees and serve as health care professionals, bankers, construction workers, plumbers, and members of our U.S. military.”
Since 2004, the Catholic Church in the U.S., including the Diocese of Salt Lake City, has been advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. “We renew our call to our Utah Congressional delegation,” continued Solis, “to support and protect migrants by, as a first step, providing youth with permanent legal status that cannot be lost through the arbitrary whims of politics.”
Bishop Solis asks our community to pray that our congressional leaders will be inspired by God’s wisdom, compassion, and call to welcome the stranger. “The Diocese has the honor of serving hundreds of DACA recipients through Catholic Community Services (CCS) and Holy Cross Ministries and we have witnessed firsthand their contributions to our economy, their academic achievements and their roles as leaders in our parishes and communities. CCS of Utah and Holy Cross Ministries continue to support DACA recipients and will be offering consultations and renewal appointments to the DACA community free of charge. For more information, you may call the Pastoral Center at .