The Sisters of St. Joseph  Statement on DACA Termination

We, the Sisters of St. Joseph and Associates, Brentwood, New York see the immigrant history of our nation, states and communities as our own.   In the mid-nineteenth century, we came as immigrants to an unfamiliar land with the dream of becoming one with both newcomers and with settlers alike.  We learned from them how to become one nation under God.  Because this is the America we know and share in, President Trump’s recent undoing of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) saddens and troubles us.  Today the Sisters of St. Joseph join with faith leaders across the nation who call on its citizens to reflect on the injustice of this action and to denounce it

Terminating the DACA program is an insult to our sense of fairness.  We who are the neighbors, friends, teachers and admirers of youth with DACA – aptly called ‘Dreamers’ – state unequivocally that this decision was not made in our name and does not reflect our values.   DACA recipients met stringent requirements about residency, as well as acquiring an education and developing a sense of duty to prove their potential to live in the U.S.  Their response was nothing short of a pledge of allegiance to our nation.  For most Dreamers, the U.S. and its way of life are all they know.  One of the pillars of this program was the mutual trust demanded between DACA recipients and the government they desired to give allegiance to. Whereas they did well to honor the pledge they gave the nation and their communities, the nation has forsaken its pledge to them.  Truly, the termination of DACA leaves 800,000 youth without a homeland.   Their deportation supposes they can transfer their allegiance to a country, which is not the beacon of their dreams and their hard work. It is heartless for anyone to suppose that these young people will live happily ever after when they leave their loved ones and friends behind.  The Sisters of Saint Joseph believe it is a miscarriage of justice to attribute guilt to children brought here in obedience to their parents, to characterize them as illegal, and to make  them bear the burden for circumventing immigration law.  The program’s termination is a strong indication of the current administration’s failure to invest in the potential of a new generation of loyal and motivated American leaders who are not just newcomers today but a blessing for the future.

The Sisters of St. Joseph unite with the many advocates of immigrant youth in stating that the case for allowing Dreamers to remain and flourish is overwhelming.  Mindful of the Judeo-Christian imperative to welcome the stranger – and particularly children – as one of us, we are confident that compassionate people will oppose this decision and take action to repair the bonds of our common humanity.  If there is a measure of hope in this crisis, it is that Congress might find the political will to pass the Dream Act before these young people are exiled forever.   We entreat all fair-minded people to support Dreamers and stand with these impressive young adults in the days ahead.  The Sisters of St. Joseph pledge that we will make our voices reach each Congressperson who represents our members in the districts on Long Island and New York City  until they act to redress this injustice in a way that  honors the nation’s values.