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The decision to terminate DACA has provoked strong reaction from the Catholic Community and a broad spectrum in wider religious circles. In light of the Vincentian Family celebration of the Year of Welcoming the Stranger leaders in the Eastern Province are speaking out.

 

Father Steve Grozio, provincial superior of the CM’s USA Eastern province, issued a call to action to his confreres today.

 

“Like St. Vincent we are called to stand with the poor. The U.S. Catholic bishops’ Justice for Immigrants Campaign helps to guide institutions, individuals, and other persons of goodwill in support of immigration reform. I invite you to read the letter of the USCCB Committee On Migration urging Congress “to support the “Dream Act of 2017”, which would protect numerous immigrant youth from deportation, including the approximately 780,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients”(https://justiceforimmigrants.org/2017/09/).

 

The website also has guidelines for calling the White House to urge the President to maintain DACA (https://justiceforimmigrants.org/take-action/action-alerts/).”

 

Take action!

St. John’s University is a flagship ministry within the Eastern Province and serves many DACA students, St. John’s University President Conrado ‘Bobby’ Gempesaw, Ph.D., as  “proud immigrant to this country”, issued a particularly poignant statement.

I write in regard to the decision announced by the White House rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Congress now has six months to act to preserve the program’s protections before DACA recipients begin losing their status in the United States.

 

As a proud immigrant to this country, I am disheartened by some of the political rhetoric and discourse that persists around the ongoing debate for meaningful and comprehensive immigration reform. We are a nation of immigrants, with the same hopes as those who came before us and desire to achieve the American dream. During these difficult times, I ask the St. John’s community to draw strength from our founding mission to be a place for immigrants and their children to attain a quality education. That mission endures and thrives today.

 

On November 21, 2016, I joined more than 600 college and university presidents across the United States in signing a statement calling for the DACA program to “be upheld, continued and expanded.” The almost 800,000 DACA beneficiaries or Dreamers—brought to America as children by their undocumented parents—have already been vetted by a rigorous application process and have resided in this country since 2007. They have been, and continue to be, contributing members of society. Many are exemplary scholars, student leaders and some even serve with distinction in the armed forces and pay the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

 

Our University leadership will continue to monitor this ongoing situation and determine how best to respond and support those who are impacted by this recent decision. Any student who may have questions or concerns regarding this matter should contact the Division of Student Affairs at 718-990-6568.

 

I hope and pray that leaders in the federal government will negotiate and pass a comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a fair, just, and timely path forward for all those registered under the DACA program and for all those still living in fear in the shadows of our society. This year, St. John’s observes and celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism. The theme for the year is “Welcome the Stranger.” It is a fitting reminder of what our University stands for and our moral obligation to help those most in need