Homeland Security needs community support to help immigrant youth

SEEKING SUPPORT --- Alejandro Mayorkas (at podium), deputy secretary of Homeland Security told immigration advocates the agency is fully committed to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) during a mid-morning June 11 meeting at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Los Angeles District Office downtown. (Doris Benavides)

Distrust, fear, and lack of information discourage young undocumented immigrants from applying for temporary legal relief, according to a Homeland Security official.

Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of Homeland Security, called on Los Angeles immigration advocates, lawyers and beneficiaries to help.

The agency is preparing for the renewal process of the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) holders. Undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children with their undocumented parents may be eligible for DACA.

“We are committed to this program,” Mayorkas told a standing-room only June 11 at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Los Angeles District Office downtown. “We want to partner with you to see who could be reachable and reach even those difficult to reach.”

About 600,000 young people who have pursued education or military services have applied to the DACA, but there are still nearly 400,000 eligible youth who have not applied since the application process began nearly two years ago, according to reports.

Advocates said the time frame, 120 days, requested to submit the paperwork might be a hindrance.

“Getting a birth certificate in Mexico could take a lot of time,” an immigration advocate told the Mayorkas. She suggested a deadline extension. Mayorkas explained that the agency thinks it is necessary for people to start the application process on time and “not wait until 60 or 30 days before the time expires.”

Advocates and beneficiaries want DACA to be a permanent document, but Mayorkas said the agency would have to evaluate the progress of each individual.

“DACA doesn’t really provide a permanent relief. We are still not stable,” DACA beneficiary Edna Monroy told Mayorkas. She said it took her nine months to receive her document after applying within the time frame.

“We do not know what will happen four years from now and in the meantime families are living in limbo,” she said.

Advocates also suggested seeking more educational avenues to inform the public about the application process and to reach those who are not aware of it and their eligibility.

The Homeland Security official said the agency will work closely with embassies, consulates and schools, as well as certain media outlets to offer information about the process requirements and legal services available.

In the meantime, DACA holders will receive a reminder within 100 days before their document expires.

Full story of this event will run in the June 20 Tidings.


Voices

Appreciating the gift of memory

Anne Hansen

Why do we hold on to so many things in closets, garages and storage units? What is it about the birth announcement of an adult child or the high school diploma of an elderly grandparent that keeps these objects carefully saved rather than discarded? They are of no use to anyone and take up space. Yet they are precious and difficult to part with.

 

 

The Holy Father visits the Holy Land

Events

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January 25, 2015

  • Saturday, January 24

    Building Bridges through Intercultural Competency: A Symposium on the Future of Education and Ministry in the Church, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles. Archbishop José H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will deliver a keynote address, which will be followed by two panel discussions on issues of intercultural competency and diversity featuring experts and practitioners working in Catholic education and other ministries in Southern California and across the United States. For more information, please contact the LMU School of Education Office of the Dean at (310) 258-8768.

    Life in the Spirit Seminar, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (Registration 8:30 a.m.), Incarnation School Auditorium, 1001, N Brand Blvd., Glendale. Led by Fr. Bill Adams C.S.s.R. (818) 421-1354.

    Journey Through Grief, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes. (310) 377-4867.

    “One Life, One Light” Requiem for the Unborn, 6 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 West Temple Street, Los Angeles.

  • Sunday, January 25

    44th Annual Whale Fiesta, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro. Free. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium celebrates marine mammals and the beginning of the migration of the Pacific gray whales along Southern California. Activities include building a life-sized whale out of sand, “Great Duct Tape Whale Contest” and “Whale Dynamics,” where participants will be transformed into a single “living whale.” (310) 548-7562.

    “Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change” with director Jayasri Majumdar Hart, 3-5 p.m., St. Bernadette Parish, 3825 Don Felipe Dr., Los Angeles. A discussion with Ms. Hart will follow the screening.  Free.

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