Non-profit readies to provide assistance to thousands of eligible immigrants DALLAS, TX (November 21, 2014)

After years of preparing for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), Catholic Charities President/CEO Arne Nelson says the Dallas-based non-profit is ready to act to assist the thousands of eligible immigrants in North Texas who will qualify under President Obama’s new directive announced yesterday evening.

Since 1975, Catholic Charities Dallas (CCD) has assisted immigrants in North Texas under many prior such programs, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which the President similarly established under an executive order in 2012.

“We welcome the President’s long-awaited announcement, since providing legal assistance to low-income immigrants is central to our broader mission to help people in need in Greater Dallas, particularly those who are newcomers and those viewed as ‘strangers’ to our community,” says Nelson.

The action will provide relief to an estimated 5.3 million immigrants currently in the U.S. without authorization, and within that, the Migration Policy Institute estimates people living in Texas potentially eligible could range from 700,000 to one million. Of this estimate, approximately 25 percent or 185,750 could be living in North Texas, and based on Catholic Charities Dallas’ experience and discussions with area non-profits, Nelson says they organization anticipates CCD could see up to 15 percent of that number or approximately 27,000 people.

According to Catholic Charities Dallas’ Director of Immigration Vanna Slaughter, the President’s directive will allow eligible persons to apply for protection from deportation and for authorization to work in the U.S. Eligible people will include those residing in the U.S. since before January 1, 2010 and are also the parents of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident child. They must also not be an enforcement priority under newly issued guidance. The President’s plan also includes an expansion of the DACA program.

“We hope that the final precise provisions will be as inclusive as possible,” adds Slaughter. “Immigrants throughout the country, and particularly in North Texas, have waited patiently and faithfully for an opportunity to regularize their immigration status in the U.S. so as to continue contributing to the fabric of our communities.”

Similar to the assistance provided by Catholic Charities Dallas to immigrants through DACA since August 2012, the non-profit’s staff of attorneys and immigration case managers anticipate hosting clinics, offering extended hours, providing information sessions and acting as the trusted go-to resource for immigrants eligible for the temporary deportation relief.

“We have helped thousands of immigrants under many prior programs since 1975,” says Slaughter, “and we stand ready to help thousands more when the President’s actions go into effect.”

Based on the President’s announcement, it is anticipated that people will be able to begin applying for this administrative relief within six months.