Washington D.C., - A federal judge ruled
on Tuesday evening that the Deferred Action
for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program must
be re-opened to new applicants, and the
following day the USCCB announced support
for the “Uniting and Securing America (USA)
Act of 2018,” which would codify DACA into
DACA is an Obama-era federal program that
protects people who were brought to the
United States illegally as children from
being deported and also provides for work
permits. DACA recipients, who are commonly
referred to as “Dreamers,” must renew their
DACA status each year.
President Donald Trump has sought to end
DACA, saying that the initial program was
only an executive order that went beyond the
scope of presidential powers.
While other court decisions have ordered
that the federal government begin to accept
DACA renewals, the April 24 decision by
Judge John Bates was different in that it
re-opened the program for new applicants.
Bates said that he did not believe the Trump
administration provided a strong enough case
for why the program should end.
Trump has urged Congress to pass a law
that would combine some of DACA’s provisions
along with immigration reform, but so far
these efforts have not been successful.
Bates’ decision will go into effect in 90
days, unless the Trump Administration issues
new reason as for why it is ending DACA.
The USCCB’s Committee on Migration issued
a letter of support April 24 for H.R. 4796,
dubbed the “Uniting and Securing America
(USA) Act of 2018.”
The bill would shield “Dreamers” from
deportation and would provide for a path to
citizenship for certain qualified persons.
Additionally, the USA Act of 2018 would
increase border security and would seek to
address corruption in Central America – a
major cause of “irregular migration.”
The bill was introduced by Reps. Will
Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA), and is
co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of
The letter is signed by Bishop Joe
Vasquez of Austin, who is chairman of the
USCCB’s committee on migration.
“While a larger solution is still needed
to fix our broken immigration system, we
urge Congress to first focus on passing H.R.
4796, as written, or similar bipartisan and
narrowly-tailored legislation,” said the
“Any legislation passed should provide
Dreamers with a path to citizenship, not
undermine our family-based immigration
system or terminate existing protections for
vulnerable migrants, and ensure that border
security measures are just, proportionate,
Vasquez said it was a “moral duty” to
protect Dreamers, and that they are
“valuable members of our communities.”