Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our nation continues to grapple with the all-too-often polarizing issue of unauthorized immigration. Migrant youth were brought into the United States by their undocumented parents when they were only children and, at no fault of their own, are currently unauthorized. The children grow up immersed in American culture, attending school and playing in the band and on athletic teams with their American classmates. However, unlike their classmates upon graduation from high school, their future is bleak; their dream to dedicate their substantial gifts and talents to the only country they know cannot be fulfilled because of their legal status. They cannot legally obtain a job, attend many universities and even have barriers to joining the military. They are caught in a trap not of their own making.
I am pleased to join with the U.S. Catholic bishops’ support for S.952, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act as introduced in the U.S. Senate on May 11, 2011. S.952 is very narrowly tailored to provide a hard-earned path to lawful status for those who meet its strict eligibility requirements, including being 15 years old or younger at the time of entry into the U.S.; living in the U.S. for five years; demonstrating evidence of good moral character; and graduating from high school or obtaining a GED. In addition to these requirements, applicants must then complete in good standing at least two years of college or military service in the U.S.
The DREAM Act provides an extension of grace to this select group of people, placing them on the long road to becoming productive citizens contributing to our economy. The act has the endorsement of both academics and the Department of Defense. As John Paul II said in his 1995 visit to the United States, “Today as before, the United States is called to be a hospitable, welcoming culture . . . the very essence of the ‘American Experience.’”
I urge you to contact your legislators and the president to seek passage of the DREAM Act as an expression of our Catholic concern for the dignity of all people.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Martin Amos
Bishop of Davenport