Archbishop Gomez calls USA Act ‘a good-faith compromise on both sides… It is time for those standing in the way of a solution to stand down’
Archbishop José H. Gomez echoed the call of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for Congress to pass the “Uniting and Securing America” (USA) Act of 2017 (H.R. 4796) to protect young people known as “Dreamers” from deportation. USCCB Migration Committee Chair Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, TX announced the bishops’ support of the compromise legislation to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which was ended by President Donald Trump on March 5.
The USA Act is a bipartisan bill, introduced by Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX), Pete Aguilar (D-CA) and Jeff Denham (R-CA), that would provide qualifying Dreamers with protection from deportation, as well as a path to citizenship. Additionally, the USA Act of 2017 would augment border security at the U.S./Mexico border, in part through deployment of new technology; increase the number of immigration judges and Board of Immigration Appeals staff attorneys; and seek to address root causes and prevent future irregular migration as a condition of aid to Central America.
“We are hopeful our support of the current version of the USA Act, and our continued support of the Dream Act, will encourage Congress to act now and find a humane legislative solution for Dreamers,” noted Bishop Vásquez.
In his weekly column in the Archdiocese’s news magazine, Angelus, Archbishop Gomez reiterated the USCCB announcement, “I am urging the Speaker and the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives to allow debate on this critical issue. For several years now, immigration reform has been blocked in the House by a small group of lawmakers who are using their leverage to prevent any legislation from being brought up for a vote on the House floor. This situation is not fair and in fact it frustrates the will of the American people.
“This is not about Republicans or Democrats. It is about right and wrong. As I have been saying for years now, both parties are using this issue for their own political gain. Even now, we can see there are still some who seem content to sacrifice the Dreamers’ futures for the chance to mobilize voters in the next election. This is heartless and cruel. It is time to stop. People’s lives are in the balance.
“These young people did nothing wrong and yet they have spent their entire lives in a kind of legal limbo, with limited rights and opportunities and no certainty about their future. By any measure, these are the kind of young people that our country should be encouraging. Nearly everyone — 97 percent — is either in school or in the workforce. Many serve in our armed forces and law enforcement.”
The Archbishop emphasized that the USA Act “represents a good-faith compromise on both sides — trading assurances for the Dreamers in exchange for border-security improvements.”
“This is a victory for common sense and our common humanity. It is time for those standing in the way of a solution to stand down,” concluded the column.
Click here for the full version of Archbishop Gomez’s column