In light of President Trump’s decision to discontinue the DACA program, the Diocese of Phoenix renews its commitment to prayer, support and solidarity with the nearly 800,000 young people — 27,865 in the State of Arizona — affected by today’s announcement. As the Bishops of Arizona and New Mexico stated last week, we urge our federal elected officials to move forward with permanent solutions that grant relief to these young people, along with the chance to earn permanent residency and eventually to seek citizenship.

The Diocese of Phoenix shares the following statement issued today through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, denouncing the termination of the DACA program:

“The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible. It causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families. These youth entered the U.S. as minors and often know America as their only home. The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and a determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education. Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation. This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans.

“The Church has recognized and proclaimed the need to welcome young people: ‘Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me’ (Mark 9:37). Today, our nation has done the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond. It is a step back from the progress that we need to make as a country. Today’s actions represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future. DACA youth are woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American youth.

“We strongly urge Congress to act and immediately resume work toward a legislative solution. We pledge our support to work on finding an expeditious means of protection for DACA youth.

“As people of faith, we say to DACA youth – regardless of your immigration status, you are children of God and welcome in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church supports you and will advocate for you.”

The Diocese of Phoenix invites the community to join together in praying for Dreamers and for comprehensive immigration reform at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23 at St. Agnes Parish, 1954 N. 24th St. in Phoenix.