PHOENIX (AP) — Karina Ruiz’s life is deeply rooted in Phoenix. She has three children and two grandkids, a side gig selling houses, frantic days rushing kids off to school and activities, a busy work schedule filled with meetings.
The 35-year-old knows that little of this would be possible without her enrollment in a program dating back to the Obama administration that allows immigrants brought here as children to work and protects them from deportation.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday about President Donald Trump’s attempt to end the program, and the stakes are particularly high for the older generation of people enrolled in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA.
DACA recipients are often thought of as college students, but as the 7-year-old policy has aged, so have its beneficiaries. Roughly 18% of the 669,000 people enrolled in DACA are 31 and older.
As the DACA recipients grow older, they have become even more embedded in American life. They have children, blossoming careers, mortgages, car payments and other financial responsibilities that come along with becoming a 30-something. Some of them jokingly call themselves the “elder Dreamers.”
“We’re so much more than just students, and as we grow and become of age, usually with age comes responsibility,” Ruiz said. “I wonder who is going to help my children do their homework. Who is going to take them to summer camp or organize their birthdays? So all those things worry me.”
The immigrants hope that the Supreme Court case will bring an end to a long period of legal limbo.
In the early 2000s, immigrant youths who were brought to the U.S. as children and raised in American schools with American ways were pushing for a legislative fix to their tenuous situation. The first of several attempts to address this was the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, introduced in 2001 by two senators from opposing parties. The bill failed, and so have more than 10 other attempts at passing similar laws under three administrations.
In 2012, under intense pressure from young activists, President Barack Obama announced DACA’S creation. It was limited to people between 15 and 30 years old and to those who were attending or graduated from high school and lacked a criminal record.
President Barack Obama later tried to expand the protections to younger people and parents of DACA recipients but was blocked by the courts.
On Sept. 15, 2017, the Trump administration announced the end of the program, setting off a series of legal challenges that will culminate before the Supreme Court. A decision is expected in the spring.
DACA remains in existence, but only for people who were already enrolled when Trump ended it.
If the Supreme Court sides with the Trump administration, it would throw the lives of DACA recipients back into type of limbo they regularly experienced before the program.
The life of Edison Suasnavas, a 33-year-old in Salt Lake City, changed drastically when he got DACA. He worked a low-paying job at a hotel before getting authorization to work. Now, he’s putting to use his advanced biology degrees while working in a lab analyzing cancer cells at the University of Utah’s molecular oncology department.
Suasnavas is married, has a young daughter and is expecting another baby soon. The Ecuador native owns a home and two cars.
But he said the anxiety over the program’s fate has caused him to consider moving to a different country.
“It’s been really hard because every morning you wake up thinking that something’s gonna get done or they’re gonna listen to stories like mine and they’re trying to somehow understand that most of us, first of all, it wasn’t our decision to come here and that if you think about it, what did we do wrong?”
Ruiz, who is from Mexico, was in college when Arizona voters passed a ballot initiative in 2006 requiring students without legal status to pay out-of-state tuition, or about triple the cost. She could no longer afford tuition and had to end her pursuit of biochemistry degree and a career in pharmacy, although she eventually went back to school and got her degree.
Slowly, Ruiz became involved in advocacy work, and it’s now her primary job. Along the way, she and her husband built a family: three boys, ages 7, 9 and 17. Her oldest child has two children of his own, which has added grandmother duties to her daily routine.
“I think they rely heavily on the support I provide them with the help of my husband not just economically but emotionally,” Ruiz said.
At 37, Andreas Magnusson is among the oldest immigrants enrolled in DACA.
He is a successful music producer who came to the U.S. from Sweden when he was a toddler. His mother had a student visa and eventually found an employer who was sponsoring the two, but an immigration lawyer botched their case, and Magnusson, already an adult with a growing business, a home and a car, was left without legal status.
Magnusson estimates he’s spent $40,000 on attorney and application fees over the years while attempting to fix his status. His mother, who has since become a U.S. citizen, sponsored Magnusson but it’ll be many years before he can get permanent legal residency, or a green card.
Lili Sanchez, 32, spent years working with a fake Social Security number in low-wage jobs to support her two daughters, who are now 15 and 12 years old. Sanchez used to live in constant fear, finding herself unnerved by just hunting for a place to live because she didn’t know what kind of documents the apartment complex might request.
With DACA, she was able to get her real estate license, work and eventually buy her own home in a Phoenix suburb. She’s studying to become a life coach.
Sanchez still faces hurdles, like not being able to see her mom for the past eight years because she moved back to Mexico. She worries about the future of DACA.
“I’ve lived here all of my life, this is my home. So for me everything is at stake. It would mean starting my life over there with my kids. It would be uprooting them, starting fresh,” Sanchez said.
BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s Catholics reacted enthusiastically when bishops from across the Amazon called for the ordination of married men as priests to address the clergy shortage in that region. Such reforms have been pushed for decades by many German bishops and lay groups who hope it can lead to the liberalization of centuries of Roman Catholic tradition.
There is resistance elsewhere for the proposal, however, with the conservative Catholic establishment making sure its voice is heard as Pope Francis prepares his own document — expected by year’s end — that could determine whether married priests and female deacons eventually become a reality in the Amazon.
Bishop Franz-Josef Bode from Osnabrueck, Germany, welcomed the proposals and suggested that a European synod similar to last month’s assembly by the Amazon bishops could be a useful way to address pressing issues on the continent.
He told the Osnabrueck Diocese paper Kirchenbote that while the Amazon Synod’s recommendations would not be transferable one-to-one in Europe, they might show the way forward to a similar type of priesthood in Germany that allows for combining work and family.
“Regarding the role of women in our societal and ecclesiastical situation, the recommendations are a tail wind for our efforts so far,” Bode said.
A powerful lay organization, the Central Committee of German Catholics, or ZdK, stressed that its congregations also are concerned about such problems.
“The question of whether we still have enough priests who live in celibacy and can fulfill all the tasks needed in the community is one that needs to be asked in Germany as well,” ZdK Vice President Karin Kortmann told The Associated Press on Friday.
“It’s right to ask how we can open offices within the church without jeopardizing the basic principles,” Kortmann said. “It is also a question of credibility that we discuss women’s access to all offices within the church.”
The ZdK will take part in the two-year “synodal path” meetings with the German Bishops Conference that holds its first plenary session in January in Frankfurt. It is widely expected to push for married priests and the ordination of women, among other reforms.
Vicar generals from 10 German archdioceses sent a letter Tuesday to the bishops conference and the ZdK, saying they also consider “fundamental reforms of the church in Germany to be urgently necessary, indeed essential.”
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich and chairman of the bishops conference, expressed support for the Amazon Synod’s proposal, but stopped short of calling for a global recognition of married priests. In a statement after it ended, Marx tried to dampen expectations among German Catholics by saying “the synod was not about the abolishment of celibacy, that’s not going to happen.”
The Catholic Church already allows for married priests in Eastern Rite churches and in cases where married Anglican, Lutheran or other Protestant priests have converted to Catholicism. But if Francis accepts the synod’s proposal, it would mark a first for the Latin Rite church in a millennium and could help the church compete with evangelical and Protestant churches that are gaining converts, especially in South America.
The synod’s proposals have not been universally embraced outside the region.
Some key cardinals at the Vatican and elsewhere have voiced opposition, warning that married priests in the Amazon would create far-reaching, negative effects on the priesthood elsewhere for the 1.2 billion-member church, while also opening the door to an even greater problem: What to do about divorced priests.
Most of these critics are from the hierarchy’s conservative camp that has grown bolder in voicing skepticism or outright opposition to Francis. They form part of the high-level criticism that is buffeting the papacy over issues such as the clerical sexual abuse scandal, allegations of financial improprieties in the Holy See and doctrinal concerns.
Perhaps the most surprising critic was Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Vatican’s powerful bishops office and a top adviser to Francis. Ouellet, considered a possible papal contender, published a book on the eve of the Amazon Synod affirming the value of the celibate priesthood and expressing skepticism that married priests would solve its clergy shortage.
A more predictable “no” came from Cardinal Robert Sarah, an arch-conservative from Guinea whom Francis has kept on at the Vatican’s liturgy office despite sharp ideological differences. He also published a book on the eve of the synod lamenting the “dark night” of crisis for the church, citing the sexual abuse scandal as well as overall doubt about Catholic doctrine and morals, and insisting on the value of priestly celibacy.
“I often hear people say that (celibacy) is only a question of historical discipline. I think that that is wrong. Celibacy reveals the very essence of the Christian priesthood. To speak about it as a secondary reality is hurtful to all the priests of the world,” he said.
Outside the Vatican, Cardinal Camillo Ruini — a conservative who was St. John Paul II’s vicar for Rome and head of the Italian bishops conference — also criticized the proposal and said he “hopes and prays that the pope ... doesn’t confirm it.”
Ruini acknowledged the priest shortage in the Amazon and said the proposal was understandable, “but I think it’s the wrong choice,” he told Corriere della Sera. “The celibacy of priests is a great sign of total dedication to God in the service of your brothers, especially in an eroticized context like today’s.”
Ruini also suggested married priests would inevitably lead to divorced priests.
“Today marriage is profoundly in crisis: Married priests and their wives would be exposed to the effects of this crisis, and their human and spiritual condition wouldn’t be able to avoid it,” he said.
Most U.S. bishops have so far avoided emphatic pronouncements about the synod.
One of the more outspoken is Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee, who says celibacy “is a living gift of a man to the church and should be the norm.”
In an interview with the AP, Stika said there are practical reasons for excluding married priests, at least in the U.S. Many dioceses are struggling financially and would be hard-pressed to support a household that included a priest’s wife and children, he said. It might also limit a bishop’s ability to transfer priests with a family.
“I know the pressures of being a celibate priest,” Stika said. “If you then have a family of six, your primary vocation should be to your family, not your parish.”
Brazilian Bishop Mário Antônio da Silva of the Amazonian diocese of Roraima, who attended the synod, said married priests and ordained women are needed in the Amazon.
“I defend celibacy for those who feel the priestly calling. But I also say: We need new collaborators in our communities,” Da Silva told the AP. “The ordination of married men meets this need, so I’m in favor.”
He suggested the concept might eventually spread beyond the Amazon.
“It’s a process that must advance for the maturity of our church,” Da Silva said, “not just in the Amazon, but who knows, maybe in other parts of the church, in our continent, and the whole world.”
“We want Pope Francis to help us move forward with this,” he said.
Associated Press writers Nicole Winfield in Vatican City, David Crary in New York and Luis Andres Henao in Buenos Aires, Argentina, contributed.
LeRaysville – Songs of jambalaya, dixieland and a Mississippi squirrel gone “berserk” swept across the stage Saturday night in eastern Bradford County as the more than six decade old tradition of the LeRaysville-Pike Fire Company’s minstrel show returned to town.
The minstrel show, which was first established in the 1950’s is one of the last of it’s kind in Bradford County according to John Keegan, an organizer, showcased a history of America’s south this year with the title of “Southern Comfort.”
Keegan stated that the show, comprised of musical talent as well as jokes and an occasional juggling presentation, is mostly improvised and changes every time.
Keegan also explained that the festivities bring in guests from not only LeRaysville but also from as far as Philadelphia and even Canada.
The performance benefits LeRaysville locals in multiple ways as all proceeds are donated to the LeRaysville-Pike Fire Department to help with operating expenses and the ministerial itself brings plenty of plain old fashioned fun to community members.
“Tina Pickett said one time it’s some place you can go, sit down and forget about reality for a while,” told Keegan.
“It’s good entertainment,” another participant added.
Keegan credited Rich Powell for creating the show’s set which will be utilized for the minstrel’s next three years.