The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is saddened by the administration’s decision to abandon immigrant youth in our nation. We believe in the rule of law, but we also have a moral obligation to protect the life and dignity of every human being, including youth brought to the United States in their parents’ hope of finding opportunity and safety for their children. The young people who qualified for the limited protections of DACA were innocent children with no intent to violate our laws. They are part of the fabric of our society and nation. Many have achieved their dreams of undergraduate and graduate degrees and serve as health care professionals, bankers, construction workers, plumbers, and members of our U.S. military.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops earlier today [Sept. 5] appealed for a spirit of hospitality, stating, “Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me” (Mark 9:37). Today’s actions represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future.
Since 2004, the Catholic Church in the United States, including the Diocese of Salt Lake City, has been advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. We renew our call to our Utah Congressional delegation to support and protect migrants by, as a first step, providing youth with permanent legal status that cannot be lost through the arbitrary whims of politics.
In the meantime, we ask our community to pray that our congressional leaders will be inspired by God’s wisdom, compassion, and call to welcome the stranger. The diocese has the honor of serving hundreds of DACA recipients through Catholic Community Services and Holy Cross Ministries, and we have witnessed firsthand their contributions to our economy, their academic achievements and their roles as leaders in our parishes and communities. CCS of Utah and Holy Cross Ministries continue to support DACA recipients and will be offering consultations and renewal appointments to the DACA community free of charge.
+The Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis
Bishop of Salt Lake City