Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, CA has encouraged Catholics in the U.S. to advocate for an extension to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before the spring deadline.

“As you know, the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will expire on March 5, 2018 unless Congress acts to make the DACA protections permanent,” stated Archbishop Gomez.

“Now is the time for you to contact your Representative in the House… urge your representatives right now to tell the House Leadership — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — to do the right thing and make the DACA protections permanent,” Gomez continued.

In Sept. 2017, the Trump Administration announced that it would be phasing out the DACA program.

Showing its support for the DACA program, the Archdiocese of LA created a website to make it easier for individuals to contact their legislators, encouraging Congress to make the DACA protections permanent.

The website links users with their representatives, and prompts them to email or call with a message to make DACA protections permanent by the end of the year.

More than 800,000 people rely on the DACA program, a U.S. immigration policy that makes allowances for undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a work permit and deferred action from deportation.

Most of the people who are part of the DACA program have lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years and were brought into the country by their parents.

“These are the people that live next door. They go to work and we sit next to them at church on Sunday,” Gomez said.

There are 12 business days left for Congress to take action in 2017, but the official deadline is March 5, 2018.

“This is an urgent moment. If we do not reach out to our House members, nobody else is going to,” Gomez said.

“May God bless you for your concern for these DACA recipients and their families.