Tell Congress to pass DACA legislation


Some 700,000 young adult immigrants who work, go to college or serve in the military in our nation — including in Iowa — are in limbo because of a recent court ruling. They are individuals who qualified for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which a federal appeals court decided Oct. 5 is unlawful. Their DACA status has kept them from facing deportation. Our commitment to the common good should guide us to insist that Congress pass a proposed bill that would end needless uncertainty and suffering.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision returns the case to a lower court that decided the Obama administration did not have legal authority in 2012 to create DACA. The appeals court is asking the lower court judge to review new DACA regulations the Biden Administration had announced were to go into effect Oct. 31. The outcome of that decision is not optimistic.

“Rescinding DACA and deporting everyone eligible for the program would remove over 2 million working-age individuals from the United States, the vast majority of whom contribute to the U.S. economy,” the Bipartisan Policy Center said ( DACA recipients are individuals who applied for and received DACA status while another often-used term, Dreamers, refers to the larger population of unauthorized migrants who arrived as minors in the U.S.

Iowa’s bishops are on record in support of the DACA program. In a statement released July 6, 2020, the bishops said, “Since 2012, hundreds of thousands of young people have come forward, passed background checks, paid a fee, and received permission to live and work in America.” These young people arrived in the U.S. as children, with their parents, and know America as their only home, the bishops said. They are “fine young people who are woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church,” Bishop Thomas Zinkula said, “mothers and fathers, doctors and nurses, veterans of our military, hard-working college students, and parish leaders.”


The Justice for Immigrants campaign of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said the nation’s bishops have called on Congress for many years “to provide Dreamers with the ability to integrate as fully recognized members of our society. This includes those who benefited from DACA.” However, DACA is not a permanent fix. “Only Congress can ensure the full integration of this population,” said Bishop Mario Dorsonville, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee on Migration (

Nineteen months ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) with some bipartisan support. This proposed legislation would provide qualifying individuals who arrived in this country as minors with a path to receive permanent resident status, among other things. However, the Senate has not taken up the bill. Its failure to do so by the end of the 117th Congress (Jan. 3, 2023) would require reintroduction of the bill and start the process all over again.

As supporters of thriving, intact families, we the faithful cannot allow this legislation to die on the vine. It is imperative that we contact Sen. Charles Grassley ( or (202)-224-3744 and Sen. Joni Ernst ( or (202) 224-3254 to support the American Dream and Promise Act. Passage of this bill would begin to reinforce our commitment to human rights and human life for all.

Barb Arland-Fye, Editor

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