A Dream Denied?  

by Sue Weishar, Ph.D. JustSouth Quarterly Summer 2017

Late in his first term President Barack Obama took action to prevent the deportation of young immigrants who had entered the U.S. as children—persons often referred to as “Dreamers.”1 On June 15, 2012, the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that assured undocumented immigrant children the right to attend public schools in the United States (Plyor v. Doe), he announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. DACA allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. under the age of 16 and have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action (temporary relief) from deportation and eligibility for a work permit if they pass a background check and meet certain educational requirements.2 

Since the election of Donald Trump the future of the approximately 750,000 Dreamers who received DACA has become highly uncertain.3 On the campaign trail Trump insisted that anyone in the U.S. without permission should be deported; however, during a post-election interview in November, 2016, he said that his administration would focus on deporting immigrants with criminal records.4 The executive order President Trump signed in January then proceeded to put all undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation, but on April 21 he told Dreamers to “rest easy” because they were not the targets of his ramped-up immigration enforcement efforts.5 On June 16 a Department of Homeland Security official stated that no final determination has been about the DACA program.6 The chart below, drawn from Migration Policy Institute data, lists the number of DACA applications received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as of September, 2016, per Gulf South state, as well as the estimated number of undocumented immigrants living in those states.



JSRI'S Catholic and Jesuit Perspective on Migration

During the last twenty years, and especially following Hurricane Katrina, there has been a significant increase in the numbers of migrants – both documented and undocumented – in the southern states. More and more immigrants are settling into nontraditional urban and rural receiving communities in the South, where the Hispanic population more than doubled during the 1990’s. The Jesuit Social Research Institute seeks to provide practical, collaborative participatory action research, social analysis, theological reflection, and advocacy related to the issue of migration in the Gulf South in collaboration with Jesuit social and migration networks, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Catholic diocesan ministries serving immigrants in the Gulf South, and other advocates.  Our Catholic faith is deeply rooted in the experience of migration.  More

On August 5, 2014 the Jesuit Social Research Institute held the Catholic Teach-In on the Child Refugee Crisis and Its Causes. If you were unable to join us please take a look at some of the media coverage this event received. 

TIME Magazine: Michael's Journey
The Times-Picayune: Catholics hear refugees explain why they fled Central America 
The Advocate: N.O. a hub for Honduran children fleeing violence


Archived articles on migration: 

A Lesson in Compassion: Catholic Teach-In on the Child Migrant Crisis and Its Causes -- Weishar 

Kids in Crisis: The surge of unaccompanied immigrant children to the border --Weishar

"We Belong To Each Other": Forgetting Our Oneness at a Town Hall Meeting -- Weishar 

Of Tears and Terror: Families Torn Apart By Community Raids in the New Orleans Area-- Weishar

When Italians Were "Others" --Weishar

Honduran Agony: The Spiral of Violence and Corruption-- Weishar & Baudouin

Keep "Thanks" in Thanksgiving-- Weishar

One Family Under God: Witnessing for Immigration Reform-- Weishar 

Border Visions and Immigration Reform-- Weishar 

Immigration Reform in Retrospect: Lessons Learned, Lives Changed--Weishar

Refining the Numbers: New Estimates of Unauthorized Immigrants in the U.S.--Weishar

Strangers No Longer: Catholic Teachings on Immigration Reform--Weishar

The "Latino Giant” chooses Obama: An analysis of the 2012 Latino vote--Weishar

"Impossible Subjects" with Impossible Choices--Weishar

Hope for Undocumented Youth--Weishar

A Legacy of “Cussedness”: Update on Alabama’s Harsh Immigration Enforcement Laws -- Weishar

Mississippi Rejects Immigration Enforcement Bill--Weishar

Immigration Enforcement Bill Fails to Pass in Mississippi, None Proposed in Louisiana Legislature -- Weishar

Not Good Law or Good Sense: Proposed Mississippi Immigration Legislation Through the Lens of Catholic Social Teaching -- Weishar

So Help Us God: Life, Death, and Voting Rights in the Texas Colonias--Michael Seifert

View all Migration articles »