Latest Immigration News: On November 20, 2014, President Obama took executive action to reform immigration enforcement and provide relief to an estimated 5 million immigrants currently in the U.S. without authorization. Among the measures he announced, the center point is an administrative program that will allow certain people to apply for protection from deportation and for authorization to work in the U.S.

What does this mean? The President announced plans to offer temporary protection from deportation, known in the immigration context as Deferred Action, and work authorization for eligible applicants, who are expected to include close relatives of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who have been in the U.S. for several years and have no significant criminal history. The President’s plan will also include an expansion of the DACA program. His plan offers benefits similar to his June 2012 executive action offering temporary protection to children brought to the United States at a very young age.

What is the likely impact? While the President’s actions do not solve the continued need for comprehensive immigration reform, they provide relief for many families across the country. It is estimated that 5.3 million individuals will benefit from his action, the majority of whom are parents of U.S. citizens. Based on the numbers of people potentially eligible in Greater Dallas, we anticipate several thousand people at Catholic Charities Dallas looking for assistance in filing for this relief.

What role will Catholic Charities Dallas play? Catholic Charities Dallas will be here to provide information and assistance for eligible applicants. We will offer informational sessions, consultations and direct representation for thousands of individuals. We are ready to confront the challenges that this poses and are excited for the relief and opportunity that this brings for so many families.

Stepping Back – Key Immigration Milestones & Implications for Dallas (and Texas) Today

Four major immigration-related laws and issues of note in past 30 years

  • 1986-87 – Passing of Immigration Reform & Control Act – gave more than 3.1 million immigrants the opportunity to come out of the shadows and gain lawful status, many of whom have gone on to apply for and obtain U.S. Citizenship
    In North Texas alone, 88,000 applied and were granted status, 10,000 of whom were assisted by Catholic Charities Dallas
  • April 30, 2001 – End of Special Provision to allow certain family members to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. without having to return to their home country to complete the process
    Leading up to the April 30, 2001 deadline date, CCD accommodated dramatic numbers of applicants who have long since joined the fabric of our community. Families continue to benefit from this change every year.
  • August 15, 2012 – Beginning of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) administrative relief – provides children brought to the US at a very young age through no fault of their own the ability to fully participate in society and contribute to the economy (through employment, driver’s license, and relief from deportation)
    Texas has the second-highest number of DACA-eligible youth in the nation – an estimated 147,000 are eligible statewide and 100,000 have applied – behind California
  • June 2014 – Massive Surge in Unaccompanied Children into the U.S. – more than 60,000 unaccompanied minors – primarily from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – attempted to cross the border into the U.S. during government FY 14 (more than TWICE as many as the previous fiscal year)
    An estimated 3,000-4,000 of these children were reunified with family members in North Texas, and of which CCD has seen over 1000 since January 2014/over 600 since June 2014 saw approximately 1,200 (35%) and is working with their legal custodians to ensure they know the legal process and aim to secure each child quality legal representation President Obama’s actions are certain to be another defining moment in the history of CCD and the U.S.’s history as a nation of immigrants. As in the past, CCD stands ready to confront the challenge and excited for the long-awaited relief this offers to so many families in our community.