CINCINNATI – A Kentucky bishop has called on the U.S. Supreme Court to remove the “conditions of fear and uncertainty” surrounding the lives of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children.

Bishop John Stowe of Lexington made his appeal in an op-ed in Monday’s Lexington Herald Leader, when he urged the nation’s highest court to “consider carefully the impacts a decision will have on the more than 700,000 DACA recipients and their family members.”

Stowe’s op-ed appeared on the eve of the Supreme Court’s date for hearing arguments about the legality of the Trump administration’s efforts to shutter the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since 2012, DACA has provided protections for the so-called DREAMers – certain undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children – as the U.S. government has continued to debate comprehensive reforms to its immigration system.

Stowe said the program was rooted in the U.S. government’s “decades-long failure” to fix its immigration policies.

The Kentucky bishop also said the “Judeo-Christian scriptures consider the immigrant to have special rights and to call forth a special concern from the larger community.”

Stowe said “too much baseless rhetoric” and “too much vitriol” is directed towards the immigrant community, and added “DACA recipients have already made significant contributions to our nation and should be protected and ultimately provided with a path to permanent residency and citizenship.”

“While we wait to learn the fate of the DACA program, and more importantly the fate of approximately 700,000 young people and their families, it is a sobering reminder that it is well past time that we get serious about comprehensive immigration reform,” concluded Stowe.

Early in his clerical career, Stowe served for fifteen years along the border in El Paso. Speaking last year in Cincinnati, Stowe explained that he “learned to be a pastor from the people on the border, where the consequences of global injustice were right in front of our eyes.”

On Nov. 6, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles – who was elected president of the U.S. bishops’ conference on Nov. 12 – wrote a column arguing the United States has a “moral obligation” to honor the promises made to ‘Dreamers’ when it enacted the DACA program.

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