Bill represents responsible first step to fixing DACA
OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 4, 2017) — The Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma praised the recent measure introduced by U.S. Sen. James Lankford that provides a legislative remedy for children of immigrants. The new measure entitled the SUCCEED Act was drafted immediately following President Trump’s decision to rescind the previous administration’s executive action known as DACA.
The SUCCEED Act, co-authored by Sens. Lankford and Thom Tillis (R-NC) provides a remedy to the DACA regulation, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated would not be defensible in federal court. Among the bill’s provisions are a reprieve from the threat of deportation for children under age 16 and older children who have demonstrated a track record of positive contributions to their communities.
“The Catholic bishops of the United States have long supported responsible measures in Congress that take into consideration the significant nuances of immigration policy and, in particular, offer a balance of respect for the rule of law with our nation’s long history of respect for human dignity. We believe Sen. Lankford’s measure meets that criterion as a first step toward mending our broken immigration system,” said Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City.
Specific considerations in the bill include time spent in school, gainful employment or service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Each consideration would allow for an extension of the reprieve for up to a total of 15 years. Additionally, the bill does not offer a so-called “path to citizenship” for family members of DACA youth.
“I think it is important we recognize both the practical and political realities in Congress that require a comprehensive approach to the problems of U.S. immigration law. The SUCCEED Act offers an opportunity for a critical initial solution in what will almost certainly be a very long process of addressing the many components of federal law in need of repair. The bill also takes into account the human element in that the nearly one million DACA youth, though not in the United States legally, have no knowledge or experience of any other country. It encourages their continued participation and contribution to our nation as they seek to reach the fullness of their God-given potential,” said Most Rev. David A. Konderla, Bishop of Tulsa.
Archbishop Coakley added, “U.S. Catholic bishops have supported the long-term aim of measures like the DREAM Act. However, we recognize that oftentimes smaller legislative gains can be as important as those presented by more comprehensive measures. Sens. Lankford and Tillis have taken this reality into account with the SUCCEED Act."