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Catholic leaders sharply criticize Trump's decision to end DACA


People rally in Washington Aug. 15 to call on President Donald Trump to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic church leaders, immigration officials and university presidents were swift and unanimous in their condemnation of President Donald Trump's Sept. 5 decision to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals known as DACA.

"In the past, the president stated that the Dreamer story 'is about the heart,' yet (the) decision is nothing short of heartless," said Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich. "The Dreamers are now left in a six-month limbo, during which Congress is supposed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, a feat they have been unable to achieve for a decade," he said in a Sept. 5 statement.

The rescission of DACA, announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, places an estimated 800,000 undocumented immigrants, many of whom were brought to the United States as young children and have known no other home, under threat of deportation and losing permits that allow them to work. From August through December, according to the Department of Homeland Security, the work permits of more than 200,000 DACA recipients will expire and only 55,258 have submitted requests for permit renewals.

The decision to end DACA is "a heartbreaking disappointment," said Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. She also said her organization rejects and adamantly disagrees with Sessions' "untested personal opinion that DACA is unconstitutional."

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