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Catholic Charities Assisting Hundreds in Deferred Action Program

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Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh is conducting workshops at various locations in the Diocese to assist those individuals who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program, mandated by the Obama Administration, makes it possible for certain persons between the ages of 15-31, who were brought to the United States by their parents without documentation, to file for a two-year authorization to stay in the U.S. for work or to pursue educational opportunities.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has issued a set of guidelines which require the individual to have been brought to the U.S. before reaching the age of 16; be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; not be convicted of a felony or more than three misdemeanors; or be currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general educational development certification, or an honorable discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States. Once granted a two-year deferment, a person can apply for another to complete schooling, if they are enrolled and working effectively toward a degree.

To date, several hundred individuals have attended the workshops, where they receive accurate information on the program and are assisted with filing the proper paperwork for the deferment. At each session, there is a representative of Catholic Charities and an immigration attorney from the NC Justice Center, along with numerous volunteers.

“Maria” attended the August 25 session held at Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham. She and her husband came to the United States 12 years ago with their son “Mario.”

She expressed her gratitude to Catholic Charities for its assistance in helping her son apply for the deferred action program. She said without the help of the Diocesan agency, many people would be paying more than a thousand dollars to file. “Catholic Charities is not charging us anything,” Maria said. "Our only cost is the $465 filing fee required by the government.”

Mario said he was elated when he heard about the deferred action mandate. A senior in high school, he said he will use the deferment, if granted, to attend a four-year school and get a degree in geology. “Once I get my Bachelor’s degree,” he said, “I want to apply to East Carolina University to attend dental school. Then I plan to practice dentistry in Durham.”

Mario said if the deferred action program had not occurred, he and his parents were talking about him having attend school in Mexico, which would not be the same as attending in the U.S.  For him, North Carolina is his home, having been brought here when he was four years old.

For additional information on the “Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals” program, log on to www.catholiccharitiesraleigh.org.

The next four workshop will be held at the following locations:

Saturday, September 8, 2012, 9:00 to 2:30 p.m.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish
211 Irwin Drive, Newton Grove, NC 28366

Sunday, September 9, 2012, 1:00 to 7:00 p.m.
St. Raphael the Archangel Parish (Raphael Hall)
5801 Falls of the Neuse Road
Raleigh NC 27609

Saturday, September 15, 2012, 10:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Immaculate Conception (Fr. Thomas F. Price Hall)
104 E. John Street, Clinton, NC 28328

Saturday, September 15, 2012, 10:00 to 3:00 p.m.
St. Therese Parish
700 Nash Street, N.E. Wilson NC 27893

Above: Susan Gilbertson, Catholic Charities Piedmont Regional Director, and Dan Rearick, an attorney with the N.C. Justice Center and parishioner at Immaculate Conception Church, explaining the Deferred Action program to more than 100 people attending Durham workshop. Click photo to view larger.

Below: Hispanic immigrants attending the session inDurhamsponsored by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh. Click photo to view larger.