Dallas, TX - Site Visit

Catholic Charities Immigration and Legal Services in Dallas

Written by: Sister Diane Donoghue, SSS

June 8, 2013

The Dallas office services the largest number of DACA students in the country.

Nubia Torres is the case manager and coordinates the interns who work with DACA applicants. She has a remarkable group of committed young people.

Fernando comes every Saturday and volunteers. He has a day job working as a manager in a local technology provider group. He works there Monday through Friday and volunteers at Catholic Charities on Saturdays.

Gloria, from Austin, has been working there for 3 years with immigrants. One of the things she has come to understand is that people trust Catholic social services because they are so afraid of fraud. So in addition to the fear of deportation they fear fraud. She worked with victims of domestic violence. To tell those stores and have confidence in the listener comes from a relationship of trust.

There were 25 interns and DACA applicants. Diana, a young DACA applicant, accompanies her parent and it is always the relief of knowing that you have your papers. But there is a bittersweet reality that the parents are still working and living in fear. Simone spoke with them in Spanish. She commended their courage and urged them to stand up and speak out.

Maria L. is 17 years old and lives with her mom. She is applying for DACA and is looking forward to a job, college degree and driver’s license. She came when she was 4 months old, when her mother escaped poverty in pursuit of a job to support her family.

On this particular Saturday they received 80 applicants. CCSS is open Tuesday through Saturday because Saturdays enable them to service many more applicants

We went outside in the challenging heat with a most enthusiastic crowd of more than 100. Simone, again, challenged them on the importance of calling their Senators (the audience booed). They did know the importance of contacting the Senate Offices. The cry is TEXT TUESDAY TEXAS

We remind our supporters that the majority of Americans support Immigration reform NOW. We have unions, business communities, chambers of commerce and a bipartisan effort that includes all of us crying out for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, NOW. This includes the WSJ.

Josh Clemons, Social Awareness Officer for Catholic Charities, spoke after Simone. The crowd was enthusiastic, energized and committed to action. NOTB gives energy but is more often energized by the crowd and the interaction. People are amazed that we try and do this 3-city tour in one day. They give us energy to keep on, keepin’ on.