“This action by our president is heartbreaking”

Oakland Bishop Michael Barber decries decision by Trump administration to rescind Temporary Protective Status for El Salvadorans, offers those affected help from the diocese

Bishop Michael Barber

Dear brothers and sisters,

I write to you today regarding the recent decision by the Trump administration to rescind Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for approximately 200,000 El Salvadorans living in the United States. 

This action by our president is heartbreaking. I am particularly troubled we are disrupting the lives of people who immigrated here legally under an order signed by President Bush in 2001. They are upstanding citizens who, every 18 months, pay to undergo a required vetting process to keep their permit active. They are homeowners, hard workers, and taxpayers whose children are U.S. citizens. They are contributing to the communities in which they live here in the U.S., and supporting their family members who stayed behind in El Salvador, a country still unstable and rocked by violence. More than 190,000 US-born children have at least one parent who will lose legal status due to the administration’s decision. Going back to a dangerous environment could have fatal consequences; if they choose to stay and lose immigration status they will be at immediate risk of deportation.

Our Catholic Charities of East Bay recommends all affected schedule a legal screening to identify potential remedies. Their services are provided by Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representatives and licensed immigration attorneys.

While the Church recognizes the right of nations to regulate their borders, this right must be exercised with mercy and justice and balanced with immigrants’ rights to human dignity and life.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Michael Barber, SJ
The Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, SJ
Bishop of Oakland

Full letter at Diocese of Oakland website.

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  1. Elizabeth M. says:

    They came here temporarily. That was 17 years ago.

  2. When a host extends hospitality, guests know that eventually the party is over and they must go home. As a nation, we have been extremely generous hosts, and now that the emergency has long passed, these immigrants should say “thank you”, and leave. Blasting the host for closing the doors is not grateful or charitable behavior.

    • You made me laugh so hard. Did you ever see the movie Clueless where they are debating whether our country has to take in refugees?

      • Perhaps Anonymous, you would be better entertained by sticking to 90’s movies and leaving comment on real issues to the adults. Those who have been kindly treated by our government are now biting the hand that fed them. They have overstayed their welcome and should go, even if that makes you laugh.

        • Anonymous says:

          Imagine how the native Americans feel!

        • Anonymous says:

          You obviously don’t have a problem with bad manners so what is your real issue?

        • Anonymous says:

          The problem is that they have not overstayed their welcome. We are glad to have them here. It is just more bureaucratic stupidity from Washington.

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          How are they biting your hands? Exactly how? They are hard working, tax paying members of our communities. They are here LEGALLY. To send them home would be to separate their US Citizen children from them, breaking up families. In a country of 300 million people is it REALLY worth splitting up 100,000 homes? Are paying taxes, owning homes, and contributing to society what you mean when you say they “biting the hands that fed them”? When, exactly have you fed them and when exactly did they bite you?

  3. Michael McDermott says:

    Rocky Ground to tread upon, but nothing worth doing is ever really clear or easy, and measuring outcomes often depends on conflicting points of view. That Said, I quote the Bishop:
    ” supporting their family members who stayed behind in El Salvador, a country still unstable and rocked by violence”
    And Ask – Are we Not doing a Disservice to the Citizens (many Catholic Themselves) in this and similar countries – by depriving them of the type hard working upstanding citizens Needed to Sustain a Positive Culture in their homeland?
    Does the USA Syphon off the ‘best & brightest’ and impoverish their homeland in the process.
    Are We All not better served by improving Life in El Salvador…

    • Amen Michael. I agree 100% with you. As a Catholic I know that every single person on this planet is a child of God and we must see Christ in them. I liken the challenge of immigration to rearing children. We don’t spoil them by continuously giving in to their tantrums and demands. They must be reared, educated and disciplined to move on as responsible adults. I believe our nation and the immigration challenge would be much better served if we used money/resources to help the impoverished countries / cultures so their people do not need to flee in the first place. Most of these countries all have the same resources the US has. The same ability to farm, produce lumber, etc to create economies that work. But alas they nearly all…

  4. “They are contributing to the communities in which they live here in the U.S., and supporting their family members who stayed behind in El Salvador, a country still unstable and rocked by violence. More than 190,000 US-born children have at least one parent who will lose legal status due to the administration’s decision. Going back to a dangerous environment could have fatal consequences; if they choose to stay and lose immigration status they will be at immediate risk of deportation.”

    I thought [under the doctrine of Subsidiarity] that this was a problem of El Salvador’s; for it to address, and not a problem of the United States of America.

    Maybe if more attention were paid by El Salvador to fixing its affairs, it would not be…

    • Jim, don’t forget that the notion of Subsidiarity goes up the food chain. Try to do something on the local level – family, parish, diocese, city, state, nation, other nations, etc. The people from El Salvador the Bishop talks about are here under protected status because of the conditions in their nation. Think political refugees. If they are returned, there is at least an 80% chance they will be killed, if not on arrival then soon after. We welcome the huddled masses yearning to live free. That is in our DNA as a nation. Why are people afraid of the immigrant? Is it the color of their skin? Is it because they are different? Think of the way the Irish were treated when they came to escape the potato famine. The Church teaches…

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is that of the individuals and families being affected. This is the bishop’s point. The US government is causing a situation where they need to make a very serious decision that will affect the rest of their lives. None of their options are good. We can do better and we could give them better options. Like permanent residency and a path to citizenship. Like an extended visitor visa. We do not have to harm these people-we can help them. God have mercy on the USA.

  5. Anonymous 2 says:

    All the bishops are drinking the same kool-aid, these days.

  6. Bob Bugiada says:

    Excuse me, but they’ve been here for 17 years. Where does our generosity end?

    • Our generosity ends when it is safe to return. In the meantime, the refugees work, study and pay taxes. They contribute to our society. Let’s assume you are 17 years old, brought to the US at age 6 months, never been back, obviously, and you suddenly hear that you will be deported to a country you have never visited. How would you feel?

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Generosity? They work for a living.

      • YFC and Bob One always spewing liberal bile. Well guys lets start off with the fact that my neighbor was raped by an illegal who had been deported 3 times. Much like the political class you 2 care more about people who should not even be in this country than the its citizens.

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          First of all bohemond, these people are not “illegal”. They came here perfectly legally. Secondly, rapists come in all colors and citizenship statuses. Thirdly, to point out that these people work for a living and are no more the recipients of generosity than you or I is not “liberal bile”, it is fact. I’m sorry that your neighbor was raped, truly, but that is not the topic under discussion today.

  7. John Patrick says:

    One wonders how the Bishop of Oakland is able to know that all Salvadorans are such upstanding persons while neglecting Black American citizens, born in the US, who are in such need. Truthfully, one would guess he knows little about either group

  8. Alfred Dunn says:

    Liberal bishops are as nutty as the rest. Objective thinking is not their forte.

  9. Lou Cumming says:

    Why are the USCCB bishops so willing to spend the hard-earned dollars of tax paying citizens….but then the Bishops do that so well their mindset is not conducive to stopping the gravy train they themselves enjoy. What
    has El Salvador done since 2001 to “fix” their own nation’s ills? Where have all the relief dollars which have
    flowed to El Salvador been spent? Why aren’t we asking that nation’s leadership for an accounting of those relief dollars? What has the Catholic Church done in El Salvador to boost that nation’s society? Why is Uncle Sam always seen as the man with the deep pockets, pockets which are saddled with enormous debt? This being the world’s lifeboat has to stop now!

  10. The 1965 Immigration Act was a disaster. All this suffering could have been avoided had Congress simply “looked before they leaped” in ’65 — and decided not to leap. What a mess.

  11. Actually they were already here and already illegal when TPS (TEMPORARY Protected Status) was afforded them due to a volcano back home and El Salvador’s supposed temporary — ooh, there’s that word again — inability to handle returnees. The logic was a stretch then. It’s a 17-year scam now.

  12. I’d like to see how long the these church leaders would be willing to host or stowaway these foreigners in their own dioceses rectories and gardens, before criticizing our 17 year host!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I would like to thank CCD for having the integrity to print this and the story “An Inhumane Choice”. Since so many of us have tuned out the major news networks now, we need alternative sources of information. I can see that some of your readership is not supportive of the bishops but I commend you for your objectivity.

  14. A very grave sin practiced regularly by Catholic priests who encourage people to defy the law.

  15. No. You speak claptrap.

    The huddling masses were welcomed to places like Ellis Island and to Angel Island etc etc and MOST were sent back as unsuitable for entry. That is the history of America’s “DNA” — ensuring the greatest country remained the greatest and that only those with a right of entry could enter.

    Today the worst are welcomed, to bring disease crime and cost; to a red carpet of free benefits, with nothing required of them and cries of “heartbreak” if anyone dare say that the citizens of America are sovereign.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rewriting history.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you really believed what is said and done at Holy Mass and you really believed that you are a Christian, that we are children of the Father and that Jesus is our Brother and Savior and that we are incorporated into His Mystical Body, there is no one that you would reject because you would be merciful and you would be willing to sacrifice for others and you would be glad to welcome anyone in the name of Christ.

      • “there is no one that you would reject because you would be merciful and you would be willing to sacrifice for others and you would be glad to welcome anyone in the name of Christ.” Nonsense when they reject the Will of Christ they should not be welcomed… ie felons, MS-13 wonderful people like that.

        • Anonymous says:

          You should fear God not man. Read the Gospels.
          Read the lives of the saints.
          One of the hallmarks of the saints is that they are willing to die if that is God’s will.
          They did not judge, they loved. They loved those that others were afraid of and that others rejected.

          • Hey Anon, I did read the lives of the Saints, and it has nothing to do with the invasion of this country by people who do not belong here.

          • Bohemond, when you become a Christian, there are things that you must renounce. One is your own will. Xenophobia is another. None of us is perfect although we are called to be. I do not mean to criticize you, just to get you to consider whether your attitude is as the Lord wills it to be.

    • Jim, check your facts. Ellis Island rejected between 2-3% of immigrants, mostly for medical reasons. Angel Island in San Francisco Bay rejected nearly 18%, almost all Chinese because of a fear that too many were coming in at one time. Neither statistic meets the test of MOST were sent back. If you check the data about those that have come in the last few years, you will find that most are working, paying taxes, raising children, going to college, etc. Those who are taking “free benefits” are few. You are correct that earlier in our history we had a merit based program. Many today are political and economic refugees who escaped horrible lives and fear of being killed.

      • Bobone your “statistics” are uncited and incorrect. Please do some more reading of emigre statistics in the 19th and 20th centures.. Likewise your summary platitudes about the current migrant population. A careful reading of the federal budget will also reveal to you that those are a net loss for America… and on a grand scale. Please research.

        • Jim, this is the 21st century. I remember the “Irish need not apply” signs at factories and in stores. I remember the KKK burning crosses to scare Catholics. I remember real estate agents restricting where Catholics could buy houses in town. I remember a lot of the 20th century. I remember the stories from my grandparents who moved here in the 19th century. So, please don’t accuse me of not knowing about immigration. What I do know is that many of those immigrants raised good families, some of whom went on to be President, Senators, member of Congress, college presidents, farmers and industrialists. It’s not about the budget, by the way.

        • Jim, start here and then move out. https://www.migrationpolicy.org. Its interesting that we now have more people moving to the US from China than from Mexico.

      • Bob One never lets reality get in the way. You cannot have open immigration and a welfare state without the system being broken.

  16. The darlings are being given one last “temporary” extension to Sept 2019. I’m betting on a bumper crop of anchor niños nine months from now, ten months lunar.

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