The Bishop of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese is joining Catholic Bishops across the country in calling for Congress to enact the so-called Dream Act.
Bishop Richard Pates spoke with reporters after meeting with some 25 inmates of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement holding cell at the Polk County Sheriff’s office.
He tells the story of one young man who was recently picked up on suspicion of being in the country illegally.
“His whole life has changed dramatically," Pates says. "He had a job, he’s raising children. Not only for him, but for his family. What is he going to do for his family? He says, all I want to do is have a decent life, be able to raise my family, to show love, to have a house, to work hard.”
Pates says some of the detainees were once protected by the program known as DACA for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children by their parents.
“We’re not saying they necessarily have a pathway to citizenship, but civil status, in which they can live freely, they’re contribute to our communities, they have jobs, they pay taxes, they want to join the Army they want to join the National Reserve, all that sort of thing,” Pates says.
The push by Bishop Pates to encourage Congress to pass legislation to protect DREAMERS is part of a nationwide drive by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to advocate for immigration reform.