Bishop of San Joaquin weighs in on immigration

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The Rt Revd David C. Rice, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, joined with Karla Arana, a Catholic leader with Faith in the Valley Fresno and a DACA recipient, to write an open letter to their congressional representatives, urging a permanent solution to the “fear and uncertainty” that is part of daily life for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and other immigrants. It was published in the Fresno Bee. Extracts are included below.

The looming expiration of DACA and TPS, and the lack of concerted effort to respond with legislative solutions, suggests that you are indifferent to the trauma and pain that is affecting families across the Valley. The sacredness of the human family should be cause enough for you to make this your priority. Add to this the millions of dollars lost as our economy suffers because our farmers and industries struggle to find employees.

These past few months have seen an unprecedented wave of ICE operations in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and other parts of the state. According to ICE, half of those detained in a recent week-long sweep through the Valley had no criminal history nor prior immigration violation. We implore each of you to actively help pass a clean Dream Act – without any harmful and unneeded “trades” for more border funding or ICE agents. We know that increased funding for immigration enforcement will only result in more families being torn asunder, as we have witnessed here at home just recently. …

… Neither Dreamers, nor their parents, are political pawns. Nor are they “chains” in the “chain migration” debate. They are human beings, children of God, and a bedrock of our community. We must stand with and for both Dreamers, TPS recipients and their families during this time of immense vulnerability. …

We join bishops from across the country, alongside faith leaders and people of good will, to urge our Congress to protect Dreamers, TPS families, and all undocumented families. And urge all others reading this, the constituents, to call upon your representatives to do what is right. Let our congress members remember the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “Truly I tell you whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

Read the whole letter here.

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