Yesterday, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program would be rescinded.

Since its inception in 2012, the DACA program has provided undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children with legal protection and the opportunity to secure a future in the United States by creating provisions for educational, employment, and military service opportunities. Many of these young “DACA Dreamers” have become inspiring exemplars of bravery, courage, and resilience in their communities as they fight to secure a better future for their families.

The Dreamers deserve better than the anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that they are being subjected to in the wake of the DACA announcement. The President’s rescission of DACA is unjust and unnecessary.  Creating exigent circumstances for Congress to address comprehensive immigration reform by simultaneously placing the lives of nearly 800,000 Dreamers in limbo is heartless. It is placing a select group of people in jeopardy for political purposes. So often we have betrayed the words of welcome on the Statue of Liberty, turning away the “huddled masses” at our door. Silence in the face of the Dreamers’ current plight is tantamount to complicity in their suffering and betrays the Catholic principles that inform our mission.

Here in Baltimore, our own Esperanza Center serves 208 DACA clients through its Immigration Legal Services program. These individuals represent just a subset of the 18,000 individuals across our state that currently have DACA approvals and/or renewals and the 33,000 individuals who are eligible for the program in Maryland.

Catholic Charities of Baltimore will continue to support our DACA clients, families, and colleagues. We join with the USCCB, immigration service providers across the country, people of good faith, and our immigrant neighbors in voicing our opposition to the White House’s plan to rescind protections that help keep undocumented individuals safe and secure in the only home they have ever truly known. Joining our voice with theirs, we call on Congress to swiftly and decisively enact a law to protect those affected by the DACA repeal.

The Esperanza Center will be hosting a “Know Your Rights” presentation at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Fells Point this Thursday, September 7 at 6 p.m. to address the recent action.  We encourage those who will be impacted by the decision to seek advice and counsel from experienced and reputable immigration attorneys. For help navigating immigration legal services in light of this decision, please contact the Esperanza Center at 667-600-2900.

Immigrants from all parts of the world have made this a vibrant and prosperous nation, a mosaic of ethnicities and cultures with a shared devotion to the principles that define what we, as Americans, aspire to be. Catholic Charities of Baltimore will continue to work to ensure that America can live up to its promise of inclusivity and opportunity for those who call our country home.