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Bishops comment on Dream Act, new Cuba restrictions

WASHINGTON | Following are statements issued by representatives of the U.S. bishops in response to recent developments regarding travel to Cuba and the "dreamers" or DACA recipients.

Travel restrictions called 'counterproductive'

In response to the Trump Administration’s recent policy modifications on Cuba —restricting travel to the island and thus further scaling back the rapprochement between the two countries— Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, expressed the bishops' concern that the strengthening of the embargo against Cuba is, ultimately, counterproductive to the development of civil society on the island. Archbishop Broglio heads the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA, and chairs the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace. Here is his statement:

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“In light of the Administration’s recent policy modifications on U.S. citizen travel to Cuba, I reiterate our longstanding support for safeguarding religious travel to the island under general license, as well as ensuring the ability of the Church in Cuba to receive religious donative remittances. The very survival of the Church in Cuba is dependent on the freedom of religious travel and donations from abroad. Thanks to the generosity of American Catholics, for decades USCCB has supported the work of the Church in Cuba, providing her with financial, pastoral, and advocacy assistance. The Holy See and USCCB have long held that the key to Cuba’s transformation depends not on isolation, but on greater cultural exchange between freedom-loving people on the island and the United States. A half century of rigid isolation has consolidated only one thing: the very political structures U.S. Government policy seeks to change.”

House passage of Dream Act lauded

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez applauded the House of Representatives for passing the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for qualifying Dreamers and TPS and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders. Bishop Vásquez heads the Austin diocese and chairs the bishops' Committee on Migration.

“This is a big step for Dreamers and TPS holders who have called the United States home but have been working and living in uncertainty for years,” Bishop  Vásquez said. “Dreamers, TPS and DED holders are working to make our communities and parishes strong and are vital contributors to our country. We welcome today’s vote and urge the Senate to take up this legislation which gives permanent protection to Dreamers, TPS and DED holders.”

In March, the USCCB Committee on Migration penned a letter of support that can be seen here.

More information about Dreamers and TPS can be found on the Justice for Immigrants website.

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