Needing 60 votes for Senate passage, a bipartisan measure that included a path to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million Dreamers -- those eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA -- failed by six votes Feb. 15. As a result of that vote, officials of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced a "National Catholic Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers" Feb. 26.
The Call-In Day is to advocate for Dreamers, who were brought into the United States by their parents as children.
"We are deeply disappointed that the Senate was not able to come together in a bipartisan manner to secure legislative protection for the Dreamers. 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," Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB President; Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB Vice President; and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration said in a joint statement.
The prelates urged Catholics to contact their senators and representatives urging them to vote for a bipartisan measure to preserve DACA as a Lenten Action.
The faithful should deliver a message asking their Senators and Representatives 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.
To participate in the National Call-In take the following steps on February 26:
1. Please call 855-589-5698 to read the Capitol switchboard, and press 1 to connect to your Senators. Once you are connected to each Senator's office, please ask the person on the phone to deliver this simple message:
"I urge you to support a bipartisan, common-sense, and humane solution for Dreamers:
- Protect Dreamers from deportationand providethem with a path to citizenship.
- Reject proposals that undermine family immigration or protections for unaccompanied children.
- As a Catholic, I know that families are not "chains," but a blessing to be protected.
- Act now to protect Dreams, our immigrant brothers and sisters."
2. Please call 855-589-5698 a second time to reach the Capitol switchboard again, and press 2 to connect to your Representative. Once you are connected to the Representative's office, please ask the person on the phone to deliver the same message as above.
"Our faith compels us to stand with the vulnerable, including our immigrant brothers and sisters. We have done so continually, but we must show our support and solidarity now in a special way. Now is the time for action," the prelates said.
By day's end Feb. 15, members of the U.S. Senate had rejected four immigration proposals, leaving it unclear how lawmakers will address overall immigration reform and keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in place.
The U.S. House and Senate will be in recess for a week following the Presidents Day holiday.
The bishops and countless other immigration advocates have urged members of Congress to preserve DACA and protect the programs beneficiaries by passing the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, which has long been proposed. The bill is what gives DACA recipients the "Dreamer" name.
For more information click here to visit Justice For Immigrants website.