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Alaska Catholic Bishops Speak out on the Administration’s DACA Decision

We, the Catholic bishops of Alaska, remain united in heart and mind with our brother bishops across this nation in condemning the Administration’s decision today to suspend DACA. At the same time, we stand in strong solidarity with the 800,000 people and their families who have been protected under this provision, and who have called this their country for the primary part of their lives. We as a nation are better than this, and Congress must now act to correct this inhumane disrespect of our brothers and sisters in the one family of God.

These are not strangers living among us. They are students in our schools, people we see in the grocery store. They are the friends we have in our lives. America is their home.

DACA recipients deserve a legislative path to a secure future. Immigrants are the backbone of our country. This has not changed in over 200 years.

All people should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their immigration status. We as Church recognize the dignity of every human being created in the image and likeness of God.

The USCCB issued the following statement:

“The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible. It causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families. These youth entered the U.S. as minors and often know America as their only home. The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and a determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education. Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation. This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans.

The Church has recognized and proclaimed the need to welcome young people: ‘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, our nation has done the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond. It is a step back from the progress that we need to make as a country. Today’s actions represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future. DACA youth are woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American youth.

We strongly urge Congress to act and immediately resume work toward a legislative solution. We pledge our support to work on finding an expeditious means of protection for DACA youth.

As people of faith, we say to DACA youth – 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.”

+Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, Archdiocese of Anchorage

+Bishop Chad Zielinski, Diocese of Fairbanks

Bishop Elect Andrew Bellisario, CM, Diocese of Juneau

+Archbishop Emeritus Roger Schwietz, OMI, Archdiocese of Anchorage


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