Earlier this week, on Monday, April 18th, my Brothers and I joined thousands of social justice advocates, religious leaders, and immigrant men, women, and children in front of the Supreme Court in support of President Obama’s executive actions, DACA and DAPA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans). Friars, postulants, and lay partners from Holy Name College, Saint Camillus Church in Silver Spring, MD, and CASA de Maryland marched from Union Station to the Supreme Court to show our support for DACA/DAPA as the Court began deliberations on the constitutionality of President Obama’s actions.
For many of us there, DACA/DAPA is a matter of faith and social justice (see here, here, and here). As Catholics, we believe in the sanctity of all life and the importance of the family in our society. Therefore, it is an issue of great moral importance that we work to ensure that families are not separated and that individuals are not sent back to the violence and poverty of their home countries, which in many cases would surely spell certain death. DACA/DAPA represents a way for families who are already in this country to stay together and not be further traumatized by the injustice and violence of separation and deportation.
As Pope Francis said last Saturday during his visit to a refugee camp in Lesbos, “As people of faith, we wish to join our voices to speak out on your behalf. We hope that the world will heed these scenes of tragic and indeed desperate need, and respond in a way worthy of our common humanity.” We hope that our presence in front of the Supreme Court could, in some small way, express the love and solidarity we feel for our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters. I too am an immigrant (I came with my family to the United States, by way of Canada, from the Philippines when I was 8) and so this is an issue that touches me to the core. I pray that all people of faith will raise our voices and stand in loving solidarity with the countless men, women, and children, families and individuals whose lives could be bettered by DACA/DAPA.
May God move us to compassion and mercy.