Tuesday, January 9, 2018

White House Immigration LEADERSHIP Desperately Needed!!!

I'm writing these thoughts at LAX as I prepare to depart for Rome to assist in the celebration of the World Day for Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, January 14, 2018.

It is with a very heavy heart that I make this journey with the desperate situation facing two groups of immigrants living in our midst.  Both groups have been here for years, and are settled into our society, working, paying taxes, and contributing to our economy.  They are:

A.   DACA Students.    These young people were brought here to our country as minors.  They did not choose to come here; they were brought by family or others.  They have grown up here, and they know no other country.  They have been educated here, they speak primarily English, and they serve in our armed forces  They have jobs and they help build up our economy.  They remember little of their country of origin, they do not know the language or culture, and they would be bewildered if forcibly return to their home countries.

Our DACA residents are a positive addition to our communities and country; they are part of us.  They are Americans in every sense.  

But they are at great risk of being deported because President Trump has decided to terminate their legal status effective in two months--March of 2018.

Sadly, the President has tossed this issue to Congress to resolve.  Congress is involved in so many political posturing schemes now that they are incapable of giving leadership to resolve national problems.  It's all about the 2018 November elections, and which party will have a majority in the House and the Senate.

Nothing else is of any importance or value, regardless of the incalculable human suffering that could result because of their inaction and gravely misplaced priorities.

The President needs to step forward and explain to the American people the value of these 800,000 young adults, and demand a path forward to give them full legal status, and the opportunity to become American citizens.  Only a small piece of paper is keeping them from massive deportation.  Many of them have children who are USA citizens.  

President Trump and Congress:  you have a moral obligation to recognize the presence and value of these young adults, and you have the authority to end this uncertainty and give them a safe and secure path forward as fellow citizens.

B.    TPS Residents.   This group of 200,000 Salvadoran people came here because of the horrific and demonizing forces present across El Salvador, as well as others from Honduras and Guatemala.  Some of those forces were natural, such as earthquakes, drought.  Others, as always, man-made:  ruthless gangs, lawlessness, atrocious murder rates, no employment opportunities, depressing economy, and similar.

President Trump is ending this TPS program, and threatens to deport at least 200,000 people who have come here under duress and have established their lives and families here.  Most of their children are USA citizens, as with the DACA young adults.

Their forced deportation results in a horrific choice:  return home with their children who know nothing of El Salvador, or leave them here and go back home--total breakup of these families.

We as Catholics have a moral obligation to stand up for these two groups of immigrants and to proclaim their enormous positive contribution to our society and economy, and to demand that the President and Congress confirm through legislation what all national polls have confirmed:  these people deserve to remain in our midst and to have a path forward to full legal status.

Leadership means exactly that:  the person holding the highest position in the land needs to step forward and to proclaim a positive path forward, rather than slink into inaction worried about "supporters."  In our country, that person is President Trump.

It is irresponsible for President Trump to toss this situation to Congress and to wait for them to find a solution.  

Pope Francis has shown dramatic leadership on behalf of migrants, immigrants, refugees, and displaced persons.  That leadership is based on God's plan for all created peoples across the globe, on the teaching and example of Jesus Christ, and the moral imperatives proclaimed by the Church over the centuries.

Let us pray that Jesus, the Light for all Peoples, will bring about an enlightenment of our President and Congressional leaders!