Dear brothers and sisters,

I write to you today regarding the recent decision by the Trump administration to rescind Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for approximately 200,000 El Salvadorans living in the United States. 

This action by our president is heartbreaking. I am particularly troubled we are disrupting the lives of people who immigrated here legally under an order signed by President Bush in 2001. They are upstanding citizens who, every 18 months, pay to undergo a required vetting process to keep their permit active. They are homeowners, hard workers, and taxpayers whose children are U.S. citizens. They are contributing to the communities in which they live here in the U.S., and supporting their family members who stayed behind in El Salvador, a country still unstable and rocked by violence. More than 190,000 US-born children have at least one parent who will lose legal status due to the administration’s decision. Going back to a dangerous environment could have fatal consequences; if they choose to stay and lose immigration status they will be at immediate risk of deportation.

Our Catholic Charities of East Bay recommends all affected schedule a legal screening to identify potential remedies. Their services are provided by Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representatives and licensed immigration attorneys.

While the Church recognizes the right of nations to regulate their borders, this right must be exercised with mercy and justice and balanced with immigrants’ rights to human dignity and life.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Michael Barber, SJ
The Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, SJ
Bishop of Oakland

Full letter at Diocese of Oakland website.