Catholic churches in the Diocese of Stockton will take action on behalf of immigrants hoping for legal status following Masses on Saturday and Sunday.

Parishioners may sign petitions, to be sent to lawmakers who represent members of the diocese: Jerry McNerney, Jeff Denham, Tom McClintock and Paul Cook. They also will be sent to California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and to President Donald Trump. They are asking for legislation to grant permanent residency status to participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

President Trump signed an executive order Sept. 6 ending Barack Obama’s program that protected young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Some 800,000 young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children are part of DACA. The program allowed them to remain without fear of immediate removal from the country and gives them the right to work legally.

Pope Francis has spoken on behalf of world immigrants and reacted to Trump’s decision on DACA by questioning how a man of “family values” could destroy families with his actions.

Many church leaders share the pope’s position, including Diocese of Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire.

“This has been Bishop (Stephen) Blaire’s special area of interest, to make sure marginalized youth have a voice,” said Alexandra Gonzalez of Catholic Charities, which is partnering with the diocese’s Hispanic Ministry Office to circulate the petitions. “Bishop Blaire is very interested in showing the diocese’s support for youth and its support for the Dream Act. He supports a pathway to citizenship.”

The Diocese of Stockton includes San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Alpine and Mono counties, and counts a Catholic population of 298,061 in 35 parishes.

Full story at RecordNet.

From The Office of the Bishop- November 19, 2017:

Bishop Blaire calls upon you to support legislation that will grant permanent residency status to the participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We stand with Pope Francis who encourages us to build bridges. Please represent the best of who we are as Catholics by signing the petitions that will be provided November 19, 2017 at your local Parish after Sunday Mass. The petitions will then be delivered to your local congressman.