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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
June 22, 2018
 

  In this Update:  
 
  • Discussion Continues in U.S. House on DACA; Action Needed!
  • Bishops Comment on Family Separation; President Issues Executive Order
  • Feasts of Two Saints Kick-off Religious Freedom Week
  • The Word from Lansing Column: Elections-And Your Vote-Matter
 
  Discussion Continues in U.S. House on DACA, Dreamers; Action Needed!  
 
Yesterday Michigan Catholic Conference asked Catholic Advocacy Network members to contact their U.S. Representative to oppose two measures addressing the status of Dreamers. Dreamers are immigrants who were brought to America as youth without documents. Thank you to all who were able to take quick action on this important issue. One of the measures, H.R. 4760 ("The Securing America's Future Act of 2018,") was defeated yesterday by a 193-231 vote. The Michigan delegation voted 7-6 in favor of the defeated bill. Supporting the measure were Representatives Jack Bergman, Mike Bishop, Bill Huizenga, Paul Mitchell, John Moolenaar, Dave Trott, and Tim Walberg. Opposed to H.R. 4760 were Representatives Justin Amash, Debbie Dingell, Dan Kildee, Brenda Lawrence, Sander Levin, and Fred Upton. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) opposed H.R. 4760, as it did not include a pathway to citizenship for the limited number of DACA recipients eligible for protection, failed to adequately address family separation, and heightened the asylum "credible fear" standard. The measure also would have led to increases in child and family detention and undermined existing and critical protections for unaccompanied children.

The vote on the second bill, H.R. 6136 ("The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018,") has been delayed and is expected next week, which means there is still time to act. Email your U.S. Representative today!

While this bill does include a path to citizenship for Dreamers, it fails to adequately address family separation and heightens the asylum "credible fear" standard. USCCB is opposed to the bill. The measure also will lead to increases in child and family detention and undermine existing critical protections for unaccompanied children. In his letter to Congress, Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration wrote

"While we truly want a legislative solution for Dreamers, we cannot, in good faith, endorse large structural changes to the immigration system that detrimentally impact families and the vulnerable, such as those that are contained in this legislation. We welcome the opportunity to dialogue with lawmakers and to discuss possible opportunities for further compromise, particularly with respect to effects on families and the vulnerable."
 
  Bishops Comment on Family Separation; President Issues Executive Order  
 
Earlier in June, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged the Trump administration to keep families together with regard to the Department of Homeland Security's policy of separating families arriving at the U.S./Mexico border. The USCCB statement recognized that while there are times when separation is appropriate due to abuse or trafficking concerns, unnecessarily separating families is extremely detrimental to basic child welfare principles, contrary to Catholic values, and ineffective in obtaining the goals of deterrence and safety (to learn more, read the Justice for Immigrant's article on separating families). Most Reverend Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, also condemned family separation in a statement, saying it "traumatizes and damages the youngest, most vulnerable among us."

This week, President Trump issued an Executive Order to halt the family separation policy. The "Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation" order requires immigrant families to be detained together when they enter the country illegally and wait for their court proceedings. USCCB is still analyzing the Executive Order and how it impacts those families who have already been separated, as well as how those families might be reunited. Concerns still remain regarding the detention of families as opposed to other possible policy alternatives. 

Here is a link to the initial backgrounder from USCCB on the Executive Order.
 
  Feasts of Two Saints Kick-off Religious Freedom Week  
 
Starting today-Friday, June 22-the Catholic Church across the United States celebrates Religious Freedom Week. This week offers the opportunity to pray, reflect, and take action on religious liberty issues in this country and abroad. Today is also the feast day of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, two examples of English Catholics who lived their faith and lost their lives for religious freedom. Check out resources for this week, including daily reflections, videos, and prayers, by clicking here. (Photo by Dave Frechette)
 
  The Word from Lansing Column: Elections-And Your Vote-Matter  
 
Two important dates are quickly approaching this summer. Monday, July 9 is the last day individuals can register to vote prior to the Michigan Primary Election, which will take place Tuesday, August 7. The June column of The Word from Lansing speaks to the importance of these upcoming elections and why Michigan Catholics should take the time to get registered. 

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Michigan Catholic Conference, 510 South Capitol Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48933 Michigan Catholic Conference: The Official Public Policy Voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan Phone: (517) 372-9310, Fax: (517) 372-3940, publicpolicy@micatholic.org