President Obama’s announcement in November that he will expand the deferred action program for undocumented immigrants has the potential to bring relief to millions of aspiring Americans; relief from the daily fear that they will be torn from their loved ones and the lives they have built here in the U.S. Those who qualify for deferred action will not face possible deportation. Non-profit organizations such as Catholic Charities are gearing up to assist applicants for this deferred action program. It is anticipated that millions of law-abiding, tax-paying immigrants with roots in the community will apply.
In 2013 UUCB congregants assisted DREAMERS in completing their applications for deferred action under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Those of us who participated in workshops to assist applicants found it to be a deeply rewarding and satisfying experience — one of “standing on the side of love” and, for many of us, “crossing borders” from our typical communities and endeavors.
There will be a need in 2015 for volunteer support to assist those who apply for deferred action under the new Executive Order. Workshops will be held in various locations in Contra Costa County, including Richmond, and the on-site training for volunteers de-mystifies the process. Immigration attorneys are on hand at these workshops, so volunteers are not expected to give any form of legal advice. Volunteers simply need to help walk the applicants through the paper application process.
Please stay tuned for opportunities to participate in this meaningful volunteer effort as 2015 unfolds.