Seeking A Home for the Marginalized
by Sr. Mary E. Wendelin
This article as originally published in This Good Work. You can read it in its entirety here.
Our country is built on immigrants; yes, our first Sisters were immigrants. I have worked with Latino and undocumented communities since 1980 when I began ministering in Arizona. I now serve at Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio as a Department of Justice accredited representative, someone who has the legal authority to assist immigrants with information and advice on immigration law and consular processing.
The last three years in the immigration world have been like a roller coaster ride. As one of my colleagues pointed out, “It is like the immigration process is slowly, deliberately disappearing.”
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program issued by the Obama administration in 2012 permitted those brought here by their parents before their 16th birthday to receive a work permit, renewable every two years. Applicants are eligible for a social security card, which permits them to work legally, apply for a driver’s license, and put the title and plates of the family car in their name.
In 2017, the Trump administration ended the DACA program. For those living in the U.S. under the program, their worst fears had come true.
But on June 28, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review several legal challenges brought against the administration in relation to DACA. The Supreme Court’s long-awaited decision on June 18, 2020, directed the present administration to reinstate the DACA program; however, the Department of Homeland Security may still lawfully terminate DACA if it follows the proper procedures.
What joy and exuberance at the positive, yet flawed, decision! Many relieved DACA recipients celebrated, while other DACA recipients feared the worst for the future of DACA. Meanwhile, eligible DACA applicants began preparing their initial applications.
The bubble burst on July 28 when the present administration announced the suspension of initial applications and other aspects of the program. As I sent emails to four people I advise who are DACA-eligible, I reflected on the significance of the word DACA. For me it means 700,000+ lives longing for a home and immigration reform for their families.
Precious Blood Spirituality and the call of the Gospel are a part of my DNA. I can only respond to the needs of the time and walk in solidarity with my marginalized brothers and sisters.