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Cardinal Mahony: churches may offer sanctuary to ‘DREAMers’ who face deportation

December 23, 2016

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Roger Mahony, who served as archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011, discussed the plight of “DREAMers”: persons who were brought illegally to the United States by their parents when they were children.

(DREAM is a reference to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, a bill that was first introduced in the US Congress in 2001.)

“While President-elect Donald J. Trump has pledged to implement several severe immigration policies, including the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants and the construction of a wall on the Mexican border, the most pressing and imminent challenge his incoming administration presents on this critical issue is its promise to rescind the DACA program,” Cardinal Mahony wrote.

The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) program—implemented by President Barack Obama in 2012—has protected 770,000 “DREAMers” from deportation and has allowed them to work, the prelate said.

Cardinal Mahony also discussed the prospect of resistance to deportations:

Unlike the border wall and several other aspects of his immigration proposals, upon the moment he assumes office next month, President-elect Trump will be able to eliminate the DACA program with the stroke of a pen. He will, however, find that removing these young people will not be so easy. I believe that the American people will not allow it, both in terms of public opinion and in active resistance.

In other words, I believe Americans will not cooperate with Mr. Trump’s administration on implementing mass deportations, most especially the deportation of young immigrants … Should President-elect Trump move to eliminate DACA, calls have already emerged for churches and communities to protect them by not cooperating with immigration enforcement and by providing sanctuary for those likely to be affected.


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  • Posted by: BCLX - Dec. 23, 2016 5:57 PM ET USA

    And more to the point: to whom is Cardinal Mahoney saying this? He's not the ordinary in Los Angeles anymore and can't commit his successor or any other bishops in the USA.

  • Posted by: tbartolomeo - Dec. 23, 2016 12:55 PM ET USA

    I do not doubt Cardinal Mahony sincerity although in my opinion his response is simplistic. First, the state as recognized by Church teaching as a society has the right to decide whom among its residents may qualify for citizenship. This process under a new duly elected Federal Administration has not yet been determined. In prudence I would suggest that those who support the DOCA policy reserve their judgement until the due process of Federal law is decided.