USA: Dozens arrested in #CatholicsForDreamers day

Prayer & protest on Capitol Hill

Prayer & protest on Capitol Hill

Source: Network Lobby

Yesterday, more than 200 Catholic Sisters, Priests, Brothers, and lay people participated in a mass, civil disobedience, prayer, and lobby day in support of Dreamers (children of migrants who have grown up in America) in Washington DC. There were 40 arrests. Their message was: Congress must pass a legislative solution for Dreamers that includes a path to citizenship.

Laura Peralta-Schulte, NETWORK Immigration Lobbyist, released the following statement prior to her arrest for civil disobedience: "Ever since the Trump Administration callously threatened to terminate the DACA program, NETWORK - our members and our staff - have worked hard to press for a legislative solution that offers a pathway to citizenship for these aspiring citizens. We have met with Members of Congress and their staffs, made thousands of calls, held vigils, masses and press conferences all aimed at helping to secure protections for our beloved Dreamers.

"All the while we have witnessed the fearless leadership of Dreamers themselves who have brilliantly created a movement for change. They put their bodies on the line every day to demand justice from leaders of the only country they have ever known. Thus far, they have been failed. Failed by a President who professes love but who is seeking to use them as leverage to deport their families. Failed by Members of Congress who are too timid to stand by them if it means pushing back on this Administration.

"We are failing our young people. We are causing them to despair. We are neglecting to afford them their God-given dignity and that is a sin.

"Today I will participate in civil disobedience. I fully recognize the privilege I have in choosing to engage in this small gesture of solidarity. It comes out of deep frustration of a broken process and the hope that an outward display of defiance by white religious leaders who traditionally don't engage in civil disobedience will somehow help even if only for Dreamers to know we are in this together.

"It is critical for lawmakers to understand the deep pain they are causing our beloved Dreamers who deserve full citizenship. Time for action is running short. I am participating today as an act of solidarity with DACA recipients whose courage and leadership is a source of inspiration. My faith calls me to step out of my comfort zone and fight injustice and neglect. Today's prayer is for lawmakers to put aside partisan politics and act now to protect the lives and dignity of Dreamers."

Bishops around USA offered statements of support for the Catholic Day of Action With Dreamers - among them:

Cardinal Joseph W Tobin, CSsR Archbishop of Newark said: "The Archdiocese of Newark supports Bishop John Stowe and the other participants in the Catholic Day of Action. May your testimony soften the hearts of our legislators so that justice may flourish for our brothers and sisters, the Dreamers. Count on our prayerful solidarity."

Archbishop John C Wester from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe said: "We in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe send our prayerful support to those who are participating in the Catholic Day Of Action. We stand with you as you give witness to the Gospel in Washington, D.C., by being a light for those living in the shadows in our country. You are a voice for the voiceless and we pray that your witness will move the hearts of our legislators and prompt them to find a solution for our Dreamers. God bless you all."

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, MSpS, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle wrote: "In support of this Catholic Day of Action with Dreamers, I encourage all Catholics and Non-Catholics to support and continue to pray for a just and loving solution for all Dreamers and those who seek to make a better life for themselves and their families in our great country. We must be united and Share the Journey with our immigrant and refugee sisters and brothers."

Bishop Robert McElroy from the Diocese of San Diego said: "As a Church on the border, the Catholic communities of San Diego and Imperial Counties witness daily to the suffering of the undocumented and the threats to their family life. The Dreamers are young men and women of immense promise and love for our country who never knowingly broke the law, but are faced with the loss of their jobs and deportation because our broken political system cannot enact into law the conviction of the overwhelming majority of Americans that these young people should not be punished for the actions of their parents."

"We join in supporting the direct action on behalf of the Dreamers which seeks to enlist the strong traditions of the civil rights movements in the United States to focus the conscience of the nation on the need to recognize the Gospel call to safeguard the human rights of the Dreamers at this critical moment when they are faced with enormous peril."

For more quotes from Catholic Sisters see:

Read more about the Network Lobby here:

The event sponsors include PICO National Network, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Faith in Public Life, Franciscan Action Network, Ignatian Solidarity Network, Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Little Friends for Peace, Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Pax Christi International, Pax Christi USA, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North America Province, Religious of Jesus and Mary, and The Stuart Center of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

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