In the wake of President Trump’s decision Tuesday, Sept. 1 to rescind DACA, or the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals Program, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is responding to the fear and concerns of DACA recipients who now face the threat of deportation.
“The young people who are the beneficiaries of the DACA program were brought to the United States when they were babies, young children or teenagers,” Luz Ostrognai, supervisor of immigrant services, said Monday. “Today we have working professionals, honor roll college students and high school students in the DACA program. These young people have proved themselves to be talented, hard-working and ambitious individuals. Like all the graduates, after earning their degrees they are and could continue to lead positive, productive lives, and contribute to our economy and communities,” she said.
Catholic Charities is currently prioritizing DACA recipients whose benefits are set to expire in the next six months. It will be operating during extended hours at the Archbishop Noll Center, 915 S. Clinton St., Fort Wayne, until Oct. 4. Starting Monday, Sept. 11, the closing hour will be pushed back from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., on Fridays until 4 p.m., and on Saturdays it will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The deadline for DACA renewal requests is Oct. 5. After that, all renewal requests will be rejected automatically. Ostrognai stressed that once an individual’s DACA benefits expire, that person will no longer have authorization to drive. He or she will also no longer have authorization to work, and deportation will no longer be deferred. This does not mean the person will be automatically deported, but he will then be subject to potential removal from the United States.
In order to qualify for renewal, DACA recipients must meet the following requirements:
• Not have departed the U.S. on or after Aug.15, 2012, without first having been granted advance parole.
• Have resided continuously in the U.S. from the time he/she submitted the initial request for DACA up until the present time.
• Not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and must not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Those who meet these requirements also need the following items:
• A check or money order for the USCIS $495 application fee
• Two passport-style photos
• Evidence of employment authorization approval notice (copy of the front and back of the work permit or copy of approval letter)
• Additionally, DACA recipients need to have a list of all the addresses they have had and the dates they moved since submitting their DACA applications two years ago. Those applying for renewal do not need to list out all their addresses again, only those since their last application.
Also, estimates of annual income, expenditures and assets are necessary as well. On form I-765WS, estimates of some financial information such as income, expenses and assets are required.
Once a DACA recipient seeking renewal has met these requirements, it is time to take the next step. He or she should seek out Catholic Charities in their area, or a similar organization offering assistance to those in this situation. DACA recipients interested in applying for renewals through Catholic Charities have to first make an appointment by calling, 260-422-5625 Ext. 282; emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or walking in.
Catholic Charities is also conducting community informational meetings at local parishes. This is a chance for the community to receive answers to DACA questions and concerns. It is also where individuals can receive information about their rights and options, and the next steps they need to take. The next meeting is set to take place at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Fort Wayne on Sept. 24.
For many, the decision to end DACA brings an uncertainty as to what the future holds.
The Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, issued a statement of support for all those who are impacted by the DACA decision. He encouraged the entire diocese to stand in solidarity during this difficult time.
Statement of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend concerning the Trump administration’s
decision to end DACA
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column expressing the Church’s strong support for the Dream Act of 2017. The passage of the Dream Act has even greater urgency now that the DACA program has been cancelled. My heart goes out to our DACA youth and their families who have been left unprotected from deportation and fear for their futures in the United States, their home. I am very saddened and disappointed in the Administration’s termination of the DACA program. I urge our legislators to support the Dream Act. It is a matter not only of mercy, but of justice. I hope and pray that Congress will act soon to protect these young people who were brought to the U.S. as minors and not responsible for the violation of our nation’s immigration laws. America is their home. They are part of our community, our churches, our schools, our workplaces, and our military. May we all stand in solidarity with them during this difficult time!”
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