Congressional members Mimi Walters and Ed Royce have received a unique letter – it was signed by every Catholic pastor in their districts, and it asks for more action and less talk on DACA.
Parishioners across Orange County also will hear more about the so-called Dreamers from their church pews this Sunday and throughout Advent, which leads up to Christmas.
The bishops of the Diocese of Orange are calling on their clergy and parishioners to pray for the young undocumented immigrants, and to advocate for them with their elected leaders.
Catholic leaders see an urgency in finding a permanent solution to the plight of young people brought to the country illegally as children. Their temporary legal status through President Obama’s DACA program is being phased out under the Trump administration.
Led by bishops in Orange County, San Bernardino and the San Gabriel region, 26 pastors urged Walters (R-Laguna Beach) and Royce (R-Fullerton) – both Catholics – “to actively support” passage of legislation that would allow the children to have a path to citizenship.
“It is essential to move beyond general statements of support,” read the Dec. 1 open letter, signed by the pastors and Rev. Kevin Vann, bishop of Orange, Gerald Barnes, bishop of San Bernardino, and David O’Connell, auxiliary bishop in the San Gabriel region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The letter requests a meeting with the Republican leaders. It is the first time in recent memory that bishops and all pastors of an Orange County congressional district have called on legislators for action.
As Catholics gather this month to celebrate the Christmas season, Orange County’s top bishops are calling on their pastors and congregants to pray for DACA youth and other immigrants.
A second letter, sent to parishes Friday, includes an Advent prayer which in part says: “Grant, O Lord, unto the leaders of the United States the wisdom and teachable spirit to recognize the good gifts that we receive from DACA youth and other immigrant Dreamers, the conviction to respect their life and dignity, and the courage to pass legislation to protect their stay here and offer a path to eventual citizenship.”
The same letter asks Catholics to contact their representatives, and includes a sample message. That letter was shared on the website of a national Catholic nonprofit that advocates for low-income immigrants and is headed by Bishop Vann.
Full story at OC Register.