On Sept. 27, Pope Francis launched a two-year worldwide campaign — Share the Journey/Comparte el Camino — to show solidarity with, and to reach out to, refugees and immigrants who have fled their homelands in search of safety and a better life.
On the same day, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Catholic Charities of Los Angeles held a workshop at Resurrection Parish. Its purpose was to help DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) young adult recipients, who were brought to the U.S. as children, renew their status before the Oct. 5 deadline. Thirty-five renewals were processed at the site in Boyle Heights. (Similar workshops were recently held at different locations across the archdiocese.)
“Many of these ‘Dreamers’ [DACA recipients] grew up here. This is the home that they know,” Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar said during Resurrection’s workshop. “And to send them back to a place that has not been in any way a part of their lives is closing the future for them. But in many, many cases, men and women religious have invested their entire lives in these children. So let us do what we can to be able to promote that people who are here will have something to offer our society. So that we can ensure that these people are able to exercise rights given to them by their creator.”
Evelynn Ramirez, staff attorney for Catholic Charities’ Immigration and Refugee Resettlement program, went over who qualified for a final DACA renewal and who didn’t. But she explained that while the President Trump administration is phasing out DACA, Congress has six months to come up with a new alternative plan. She also reported that just because the DACA program is ending, employers don’t have the right to ask Dreamers about their status or to fire them.
“But even though we’re sad about DACA ending, DACA is just one immigrant option,” Ramirez pointed out. “So don’t let this influence you for the rest of your life. Talk to an immigration attorney or a legitimate counselor. Chances are you are eligible for another remedy.”
The attorney urged people with immigration status questions to attend a free immigration consultation day Catholic Charities of Los Angeles is having on Oct. 19. It will be held at the agency’s headquarters (1530 James M. Wood Blvd. in Los Angeles). Appointments must be made by calling 213-251-3529 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.