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Statement on Administration's Decision to End DACA Program

Posted by | Executive Director Deacon Rick Birkel, Ph.D.

Statement from Catholic Charities of Oregon and the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon on Administration’s Decision to End DACA Program

September 5, 2017

Catholic Charities of Oregon and the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon deeply regret the decision by the White House to terminate the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Since its inception in 2012, DACA has provided work authorization and relief from deportation to nearly 800,000 undocumented children and young adults living in the United States. DACA recipients are classmates, co-workers, friends, brothers, sisters, and parents, for many of whom this country is the only home they have known.

Archbishop Alexander Sample has stated, “I very strongly echo the statement issued by the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops denouncing the reprehensible decision of the U.S. administration to cancel the DACA program. For those of us in western Oregon, this hits very close to home. Many young people and their families here in the Archdiocese of Portland will be affected by this decision. My heart goes out to them as their shepherd. I can only imagine the anxiety they are feeling now as their worst fears regarding DACA have come to be. I wish that more people would stop and think about how this decision affects the lives of real young people and their families. It is not just a bureaucratic decision, but one that impacts the lives and tramples on the hopes and dreams of many young people. I will work closely with my brother bishops to pursue every avenue to see this sad situation is made right.”

Both Catholic Charities of Oregon and the Archdiocese of Portland urge Congress to immediately enact inclusive, compassionate solutions to our broken immigration system. Such legislation should be designed to prevent separation of families and provide certainty and peace of mind for families facing social and economic hardship and isolation.

DACA recipients with work permits that expire between now and March 5, 2018 are urged to contact a qualified attorney or accredited representative as soon as possible. Work permits may be renewed if applications are properly submitted before October 5, 2017. Catholic Charities of Oregon Immigration Legal Services is prepared to assist the more than 200 DACA youth expected to renew their application over the next 30 days. Catholic Charities of Oregon’ Immigration Legal Services can be reached at 503-542-2855 to request a DACA renewal consultation.

Finally, we also urge caution against potential scams by notarios or other individuals who may seek to capitalize on the fear this announcement has instilled by defrauding vulnerable individuals. Seek legal advice only from attorneys or organizations who are accredited to provide immigration assistance. To ensure you are working with an authorized and qualified attorney, contact the American Immigration Lawyers Association (www.ailalawyer.org).

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