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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - The U.S. bishops are proclaiming February 26, National Catholic Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers, after legislation to protect dreamers failed to pass the Senate last week.
A joint statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced Monday: "[W]e will be asking the faithful across the nation to call their Members of Congress next Monday, February 26, to protect Dreamers from deportation, to provide them a path to citizenship, and to avoid any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process."
The Senate failed on February 15 to pass a bipartisan measure that included a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers, illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors, and a $25 billion for a border wall. The final vote was 54–45, lacking the 60 votes for Senate passage.
The statement continued: "We are deeply disappointed that the Senate was not able to come together in a bipartisan manner to secure legislative protection for the Dreamers. ... Our faith compels us to stand with the vulnerable, including our immigrant brothers and sisters."
In September, President Donald Trump declared he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects Dreamers from deportation and provides work permits, unless Congress acted before March 5.
DACA was an executive order signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012. The Center for Migration Studies in New York estimates there are more than 2.2 million Dreamers in the United States. The USCCB supports Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM), a bipartisan bill providing a path to citizenship for eligible DACA members.
The U.S. House has its own version of a bill, which includes keeping DACA in place, funding a border wall, ending the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, limiting family-based visas, requiring businesses to confirm job applicants' immigration status and withholding federal grants from "sanctuary" cities.
Congress has until March 5 to pass a bill to protect Dreamers — "a bipartisan, common-sense, and humane solution" for DACA recipients. "With the March 5th deadline looming, we ask once again that Members of Congress show the leadership necessary to find a just and humane solution for these young people, who daily face mounting anxiety and uncertainty," said the USCCB.
The USCCB organized no similar call-in day with regard to pro-life laws, and has instead chosen to focus on other social justice issues like health care, gun control, climate change and tax reform, sometimes reserving their harshest criticism of Trump for these other issues. For instance, the USCCB opposed Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement in June. The chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bp. Oscar Cantú, called the move "deeply troubling."