Parishes will have the opportunity to partner with Catholic Charities to help young undocumented immigrants in the application process of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a government temporary immigration relief program launched Aug. 15 that offers opportunities to work and study in the United States for a period of two years.Under the citizenship campaign Cambia tu vida (Change your life) launched in 2011, Catholic Charities, in coordination with the archdiocesan Office of Justice and Peace, offered an immigration team (of pastors, deacons and religious from inner-city parishes) their support in the legalization process by providing cost-effective orientation and training to parish staff and volunteers. The volunteers, in turn, would provide general orientation to the immigration community and assist with screenings and filling applications.“We can’t get the job done without parish support,” said Loc Nam Nguyen and Ronald Lopez, Catholic Charities director of the Immigration and Refugee Department and the agency’s chief administrative officer, respectively. “We have to get lots of education out there and work scrupulously to avoid problems with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement).”According to reports, about 200,000 undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles could be eligible to Deferred Action, out of nearly 500,000 in California and 1.7 million nationwide. During an Aug. 17 meeting, the immigration leadership team concurred that the partnership could be a follow-up to the July 22 immigration Mass at a packed Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Archbishop José Gomez presided at the Mass, where participants — including some from other faiths, such as Muslims and Jews — could identify with struggling stories told by three speakers from different nationalities.The pastors said a feeling of healing and unity was evident during the Mass, adding that their communities are waiting to participate and receive support from the Church in their legalization process.The team agreed to maximize their outreach by coordinating meetings in deaneries across the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.For more information about immigration, call Jaime Huerta, associate director of the archdiocesan Office of Justice and Peace, (213) 637-7560. For Catholic Charities’ Immigration and Refugee Department, call Loc Nam Nguyen, director, at (213) 251-3489.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0824/immigration/{/gallery}