Community members participate in call-in event
Adrianna Fazio | Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students and faculty, as well as members of the South Bend community, were invited to Geddes Coffee House on Monday to make phone calls to their governmental representatives to urge protection for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), who were brought into the United States by their parents as children. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) spearheaded the national call-in day after the U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation Feb. 15 to resolve the current uncertainty recipients of DACA face with regard to immigration policy.
The Center for Social Concerns seminar, Advocacy For The Common Good, facilitated the event at Notre Dame.
“It think it is our job to use our power and our education to advocate for those who are voiceless in a lot of situations,” freshman Grace Stephenson, who is a student in the course, said.
Stephenson said the Notre Dame community should uphold fundamental ideals of community through events such as the call-in.
“We are making these calls today because the USCCB announced nationally [that Monday] is a call-in day for Dreamers, and as part of the Catholic mission of the University, we felt compelled to honor that call through our class,” Stephenson said.
Scripts were provided in Geddes for those making calls to senators and representatives. Included in the scripts were requests for government officials “to support a bipartisan, common-sense and human solution” for recipients of DACA and to “reject proposals that undermine family immigration or protections for unaccompanied children.”
The course instructor, Mike Hebbeler, said recognizing human dignity and protecting families are central to Catholic social teaching.
“This is very much a family issue,” Hebbeler, who is the director of discernment and advocacy for the Center for Social Concerns, said, “The calling today is very much in protection of [rec and in protection of families.”
Junior Rathin Kacham said he is one of the recipients of DACA who is directly influenced by this legislation. Kacham, who is also enrolled in the course and attended the Geddes call-in, has recently become vocal about his DACA status and said he found support in both the course and the Notre Dame community.
“The big deal for me is living with an eye on Washington on all times,” Kacham said. “There is a lot of uncertainty there, and I have to think about what I will do if nothing happens or if something happens; so there is a degree of anxiety there, but I’ve kind of gotten used to it.”
Regardless of these anxieties, Kacham said he remains optimistic because community members continue to support him.
This support extended beyond those enrolled in the Advocacy course, as other Notre Dame students and South Bend residents attended the Monday afternoon event.
South Bend resident Jenario Morgan attended the event, though he has no official connection with the University. He said he supports Notre Dame in its desire to promote justice.
“As a citizen of the United States, and a privilege and honor to be one, I think that everybody deserves a chance to continue our nation,” Morgan said.
Hebbeler said he and his class do not plan to stop active support for recipients after Monday.
“The idea is to keep amplifying those voices until policy is drafted and implemented, and new laws are created to protect our immigrant communities, to protect our families,” Hebbeler said.
To follow-up on the call-in, there will be a march Friday afternoon, starting at Geddes Hall, continuing to Holy Cross College and finally proceeding to Senator Joe Donnelly’s office.
More information can be found on the “Dream SB” Facebook page.