Archbishop Schnurr: Enquirer Not Correct
Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr says he does not endorse a controversial executive order by President Barack Obama, despite a weekend story in the Cincinnati Enquirer saying otherwise.
In an interview yesterday with Sacred Heart Radio, Archbishop Schnurr told News Director Anna Mitchell that while the executive order resembles parts of the DREAM Act, which has been endorsed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, it does not accomplish any of the proposed legislation’s main goals.
“This not the DREAM Act,” Archbishop Schnurr said. “What the Bishops’ Conference and what I support is comprehensive immigration reform, and immigration reform that is permanent. What president Obama’s decision has done is neither permanent nor is it comprehensive.”
On Friday afternoon, President Obama announced an executive order offering temporary relief from deportation proceedings for certain young people brought into the country as children. Archbishop Schurr was out of town for a bishops’ conference, but a story in Saturday’s Enquirer quoted Tony Steiritz, the head of the Social Action Office, as saying, “Archbishop Schnurr has been advocating for passage of the DREAM Act for some time now, and this is a welcome development towards that goal.”
Archbishop Schnurr told Sacred Heart Radio News Director Annie Mitchell that Steiritz’s statement was taken out of context, that he does not support the executive order, and that the President’s action does little, if anything, to help young people who have no legal standing.
“To those who are saying the executive order is unconstitutional,” Archbishop Schnurr told Mitchell, “I’m not a civil attorney. I’m not a constitutional lawyer, and that has to be settled in another arena…. What I address is, is this comprehensive immigration reform? It is not. Is it a permanent solution to even a segment of immigrants in this country? No, it is not.”
The country badly needs immigration reform, Archbishop Schnurr said. The DREAM Act (“DREAM” stands for “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors”) would allow young people brought here as children to apply for residency status if they have no criminal records and if they have served in the military for two years or completed two years at a four-year college or university. Temporary residency would allow them to work or study while they apply for permanent residency, which would be awarded on a case-by-case basis.
President Obama’s executive order, however, merely suspends deportation. “I fail to see how this is going to be that helpful to people who undoubtedly need help in a very a significant dilemma,” Archbishop Schnurr explained. “They are in this country… not on their own volition, but because they were brought here by their parents. But now to say to them, well, you don’t have to worry about this for two years — how is this two-year reprieve going to help them get their life in order? How is it going to help them plan for the future?
“A two-year accommodation is not helpful,” he said. “It is not permanent, it is not comprehensive, and it is certainly not the solution to immigration reform that we need in this country today.”