U.S. Jesuits Join Catholic Bishops in Welcoming Obama Administration’s Plan to Provide Immigration Relief

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November 21, 2014 — The Jesuits of the United States, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and the Kino Border Initiative, a bi-national border ministry in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, welcome President Obama’s announcement of temporary relief from deportation for as many as five million of our community members. At the same time we acknowledge that millions more families will continue to suffer under the constant specter of family separation caused by our broken immigration system, which can only be permanently resolved through positive, humane and practical legislation.

Through our ministries, we witness on a daily basis the tragic consequences of our nation’s current immigration laws and policies.

As Jesuits, we assess each immigration policy by whether it adheres to the Catholic and American value of promoting and affirming human dignity. The President has exercised his constitutional discretion to prioritize immigration enforcement resources, while offering a process by which some of the 11 million undocumented may apply for a temporary reprieve.  Meanwhile, Congressional leaders must complete the urgent and necessary work of permanently fixing our unjust and broken immigration system. 

Through the President’s order, the following groups will be offered the chance to apply for relief through a fee-based system: parents of U.S. citizen children who have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years; parents of U.S. legal permanent resident children who have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years; and Dreamers who arrived in the U.S. before their eighteenth birthday who have been living in the U.S. since January 1, 2010, and meet education or military service requirements.

To be sure, the President’s policy change is a major step forward, and we celebrate this move toward recognizing the worth and dignity of up to five million of our brothers, sisters, parishioners, friends, colleagues and companions. However, this is only a first step, and we will continue to struggle for a day when all men, women and children who live within our communities are welcomed as full members of our nation.

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