Politics & Policy

‘Catholics for Dreamers’ Arrested While Protesting at Capitol

Protesters came down particularly hard on Paul Ryan.

“Catholics for Dreamers” were arrested in the Capitol for civil disobedience as they called on Congress to find a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to this country as children.


The groups, including the Sisters of Mercy, gathered earlier outside the Russell Senate Office Building with the intention of “risking arrest” Tuesday morning. One by one they were gently escorted out by Capitol police when they tried to remain inside the Capitol rotunda. Some sang and carried pictures of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is said to have appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico, where many Dreamers are from.


The protesters spoke out especially against House Speaker Paul Ryan, accusing him of “persecuting” Dreamers and demanding he pass legislation to prevent their deportation.

However, Ryan has expressed his intention to provide a permanent solution for Dreamers, reassuring one young mother who came to the U.S. as a child that she should not worry about being deported.

“We want to make sure the DACA problem is solved,” Ryan said last month. “This has to be balanced so we don’t have a DACA problem five, 10 years down the road.”

President Trump announced on Sep. 5 that Congress must find a legislative solution within six months to replace the Obama-era program DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the constitutionality of which has been challenged. If lawmakers fail to do so, the 800,000 young adults in the program will be eligible for deportation.

“I have a love for these people, and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly,” Trump said.

Earlier this month the Senate failed to pass several bills that would have allowed Dreamers to stay in the country.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last week urged the faithful to call on Congress to protect Dreamers from deportation.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Senate was not able to come together in a bipartisan manner to secure legislative protection for the Dreamers,” the bishops said in a Feb 19 statement. “We ask once again that members of Congress show the leadership necessary to find a just and humane solution for these young people, who daily face mounting anxiety and uncertainty.”

“Our faith compels us to stand with the vulnerable, including our immigrant brothers and sisters,” the Conference said. “Now is the time for action.”

The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, is also against restricting “chain migration,” where extended family members can follow legal immigrants to the U.S.

The Catholic Church does not have an official stance on whether Dreamers must be allowed to stay in the U.S.

 

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