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Georgia dioceses issue statements in wake of Trump DACA decision

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah and the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta have released statements in the wake of President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program. / Photo: MGN Online

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah and the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta have released statements in the wake of President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory issued the following statement:

It is profoundly regrettable that the Administration has decided to prolong an uncertain future for nearly one million young people who have come to the United States of America as children from many different nations, and who have fully and freely cooperated with the federal government’s requirements to be registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Executive Order. In choosing to rescind DACA, the President has chosen to ignore the opinions of a large majority of Americans who support its continuation. Our Dreamers are blessings for our country in pursuing their educations, serving in our military, boosting our economy and making important contributions to this nation through the work they do, the volunteer service they pursue, and the perspectives and ideas they offer. Simple justice should compel our nation to honor these contributions by providing legal protection until a permanent resolution can be attained.
I recognize that DACA is not and was never intended to be a permanent solution to help these young people. Yet, until Congress enacts just and compassionate immigration reform, however long that may take, these young people should not be subject to deportation and their families should not be torn apart. I pray that our elected officials will set aside their acrimonious partisan differences and find a way to address the challenges of a comprehensive immigration solution that will preserve our cherished heritage of being a generous, compassionate and welcoming nation.
To DACA youth and your families, I understand the fear and anxiety you face, and I value your God-given gifts and your commitment to your families more than you know. Be assured that the Catholic Church in Georgia will continue to care for you with generosity and compassion through our parishes, Catholic Charities and other agencies.

Savannah Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer released this statement shortly thereafter:

I join Archbishop Wilton Gregory of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta in expressing deep disappointment in the Administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). In 2012, in the absence of Congressional action to provide relief to about 800,000 young people who were brought into the United States as infants or children by their parents without authorization, the Department of Homeland Security announced that those who entered the United States as children and met certain requirements could register with the government, enabling them to obtain a drivers license and work permit.

The recipients of DACA have grown up in our educational system, are proud members of our society and possess countless gifts and talents which greatly enrich our country. In my ministry I have encountered numerous DACA recipients who are already making a positive contribution in our local communities and parishes. The recipients of DACA consider themselves American, speak English and feel at home in the United States. An individualized assessment has already been done by our government on each of these recipients, and they have been found to be contributing members of society.

My hope now is that Congress acts swiftly and effectively to provide a sensible solution that will be beneficial to these young men and women. I feel it will be in our best interest for Congress to respond in a manner that does not interrupt the education, employment and dreams of these young people.

To DACA youth and your families, I understand the fear and anxiety you face, and I value your God-given gifts and your commitment to your families. Be assured that the Catholic Church in South Georgia will continue to care for you with generosity and compassion through our parishes, Catholic Charities, and all those who provide pastoral care to our faithful.

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