Catholics get arrested for doing the right thing:
Hundreds of Catholic Leaders Demanded a Clean DREAM Act Outside Senate Offices
Over 40 Arrested as Part of #Catholics4Dreamers Day of Action
As the March 5 deadline for DACA looms, the Catholic community is escalating its demands for a new policy which protects Dreamers while not harming their families and communities
Washington – Today, nearly 200 people of faith demanded a clean DREAM Act from lawmakers at a press conference followed an act of civil disobedience at the Russell Senate Building Rotunda. More than 40 participants were arrested after refusing to cease praying and singing in the Russell Building Rotunda. The group was led by Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington, KY, who remained with those arrested to continue praying and offering his support.
The Catholic community used this demonstration to stand up for the estimated 800,000 Dreamers whose lives are in limbo, and to stand with the majority of Americans who favor protection, a path to citizenship and comprehensive immigration reform.
Several Catholic bishops were invited to attend; six publicly offered their words of support.
To learn more about today’s events you can:
- Watch the Facebook Live video
- See photos from today’s event (free to use by members of the media)
- Follow the participants stories via #Catholics4Dreamers
Joseph Fleming, Director of Catholic Organizing for PICO
“Dreamers in parishes across the country have asked the Catholic community to stand with them as the DACA deadline looms. This Catholic Day of Action with Dreamers is one concrete way Catholics are responding, to express our solidarity and support. We will not stop until there is a clean Dream Act, one that protects Dreamers without harming their families and communities.”
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark
“The Archdiocese of Newark supports Bishop John Stowe and the other participants in the Catholic Day of Action. May your testimony soften the hearts of our legislators so that justice may flourish for our brothers and sisters, the Dreamers. Count on our prayerful solidarity.”
Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network
“Our Catholic faith and Franciscan spirituality teach us to stand with and welcome the stranger. Scripture demands we demonstrate our faith in our actions. We are blessed and honored to stand today supporting our sister and brother Dreamers and all of God’s children threatened by the lack of a clear pathway to citizenship. We urge our leaders to remember that the Earth and all that it holds are God’s and we are all immigrants in God’s land. We need to stop treating people as a political issue. This is a moral issue. We call on members of Congress to support a legislative response that protects Dreamers while not punishing their families.”
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
“It is unconscionable that the Administration and Congress have played political games with the lives of Dreamers and we are now facing a Trump-created DACA deadline that is less than a week away. When Pope Francis addressed Congress in September 2015, he told Congress to respond to migrants ‘in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal.’ The way Dreamers have been treated – and the looming threat of family separation due to increased deportations – is directly antithetical to this call.Eli S. McCarty, Director of Justice and Peace at the Catholic Men’s Religious Orders
“This Tuesday we will demonstrate that Catholic leaders are willing to escalate and take courageous action in solidarity with Dreamers. We call on Congress and President Trump to immediately pass a clean Dream Act because it is simply the morally just thing to do. Any legislative action should neither harm other immigrant communities, nor expand the border wall. As leaders of Catholic men’s religious orders (CMSM), we have been working closely in solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers in the U.S., on the border, and in sending countries. We know their struggles. We know the role of U.S policy in too often generating significant economic, environmental, and violent push factors. We know much of our immigration system is unjust. Our country can and must be better.”
John Gehring, Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life
“I’m inspired by the courage of Dreamers who are being used as political pawns by those in power. By participating in civil disobedience, I hope to play a role in awakening the conscience of Speaker Paul Ryan and other lawmakers who often claim to be guided by Christian values, but who seem indifferent to those the Gospel calls on us to protect. Breaking up families and deporting immigrants who contribute to our country is immoral and unwise. It’s time for a just solution that puts common sense and human dignity before fear mongering and cruel ideologies.”
Scott Wright, Director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
“During this Lenten Season, we are mindful of our complicity with a broken immigration system, and of the Gospel call to ‘Welcome the stranger in our midst’ as our sister and our brother. The charism of Columban missionaries around the world is to respond to the needs of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. We are present today as people of faith and hope, and as Catholics, in a witness of solidarity with the Dreamers and with all immigrant families to say, ‘You are not alone. We will walk with you on this journey.” We call on Congress and the Administration to recognize your human dignity and the contribution you make to our nation, by passing legislation that offers you a meaningful path to citizenship,”
Ann Scholz, Associate Director for Social Mission, Leadership Conference of Women Religious
“For the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the struggle for justice for Dreamers and dignity for all immigrants is personal. Catholic sisters began coming to these shores almost 300 years ago as immigrants, to accompany immigrant populations. We continue to minister with these aspiring citizens in schools, hospitals, and social service agencies across this country. We see the devastating effects of current immigration policy every single day. We share the pain of mothers and fathers separated from their children. We know the sorrow of siblings who have not seen each other since their youth and grandparents who fear they will never know their grandchildren. We see the frustration and fear of the young people in our communities living in limbo, knowing their own future may well be filled with dreams deferred. We share the hopes and fears of these Dreamers who represent so much of what is right and good about this country we all call home. We will not cease in our efforts to ensure justice for Dreamers and we call upon our elected leaders to heed the call of the majority of Americans to forge a path to citizenship for Dreamers.”
Most Rev. Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S. Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle
“In support of this Catholic Day of Action with Dreamers, I encourage all Catholics and non-Catholics to support and continue to pray for a just and loving solution for all Dreamers and those who seek to make a better life for themselves and their families in our great country. We must be united and share the Journey with our immigrant and refugee sisters and brothers.”
Patricia McDermott, President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
“It is urgent that our policymakers take a courageous stand now and act in support of the young people whose DACA status ends on March 5th. These Dreamers are integral members of our communities and their wisdom and talent make us a better nation. Congress must prioritize the common good and resist obstacles from those seeking to fan anti-immigrant sentiment. The soul of our country is at stake. The Sisters of Mercy came today from across this country to stand resolutely with these Dreamers as we call for the immediate passage of legislation that protects Dreamers while not harming families and communities.”
The event sponsors include PICO National Network, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Faith in Public Life, Franciscan Action Network, Ignatian Solidarity Network, Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Little Friends for Peace, Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Pax Christi International, Pax Christi USA, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and The Stuart Center of the Society of the Sacred Heart.
I am proud to see my own bishop speaking out against this sadistic cruelty.
Christianists, in contrast, savor this sadistic cruelty and spit on the teaching of the Church here, laughing at “liberal snowflakes” and aching for the moment when they can watch as lives are destroyed and families ripped to shreds out of pure, racist spite. For now, they have to content themselves merely with the intense pleasure of watching innocent people held hostage and living in constant fear and anxiety.
God sees and will not forget. I pray God the Christianist sadists who put paperwork and petty human rules over mercy, charity and justice will repent their sadistic cruelty and help these people before they themselves stand before the One who defends the alien, the orphan, and the widow and face the verdict of deportation from the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.