August 10, 2011

To the Diocese of Dallas & Community at Large,

As we move into the end of the 2012 summer season, the Catholic community within the Diocese of Dallas will be faced with a marvelous opportunity in the coming next few months to help the thousands of young individuals throughout North Texas who will qualify for the U.S. government’s recently approved Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  This program will allow an estimated 77,000 foreign-born youth in our region, currently without immigration status, to fulfill their dreams, continue with their education, and make the contributions to our community that thus far they have been unable to do.

A veteran service Imageprovider with over 37 years of experience, the Immigration and Legal Services program of Catholic Charities of Dallas (CCD) is authorized by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide immigration representation to low-income immigrants, and the program continues to provide low-cost, competent legal representation to thousands of immigrants among us. Over twenty-six years ago our program assisted more than 10,000 individuals with the legalization process from 1987-1988 during the first announced legalization program, and it was made possible largely due to the help of hundreds of volunteers from over 38 parishes throughout the Diocese of Dallas. Today, most of these individuals have successfully become United States citizens.

Immigration and Legal Services has been a prominent resource and service provider to the Dallas community since its establishment in 1975, and will be a key player to the young individuals (commonly called “DREAMers”) who seek to apply for Deferred Action status.  Our program will continue to provide the community with ongoing education, access to pertinent resources and information in addition to providing assistance throughout the application process to those seeking to apply for this status.

Catholic Charities of Dallas knows the true value of each parish in the Diocese of Dallas. Each parish’s support and efforts to share our service to immigrants in our community is crucial, and in order to maximize the effort of reaching “DREAMers” in our region we ask for your help. We challenge ALL COMMUNITY MEMBERS to take action to join in our diocesan effort to help young “DREAMers” as they apply for status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Ways to help “DREAMers” in our community:

1. Be an Advocate: Educate others about Deferred Action, the services our program offers immigrants in the community, and give warning about scams and “notarios”.

2. Volunteer: Assist “DREAMers” with their application and documents as a volunteer.

3. Donate: Donations in any amount to the Immigration and Legal Services program of CCD provides more outreach to immigrants in our community as well as more educational tools we can offer those who need help becoming a U.S. citizen.

4. Pray: Each parishioner can support the work of CCD and those we serve through prayer and support.

Catholic Charities of Dallas will be hosting a series of meetings to begin to lay groundwork for another successful collaboration together.  I encourage you to appoint any interested members of your parish to attend any of the following three meetings to begin this exciting effort again.

These meetings will take place on the dates and times below, at CCD Headquarters location at 9461 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, TX 75243:

Meeting option #1:  Tuesdays,  11:00 am

Meeting option #2:  Thursday,  11:00 am

Meeting option #3:  Please call (214)634-7182 ext. 228 to schedule an orientation best for you.

For flyers or other materials to provide groups interested in outreach, please contact us at contact@ccofdallas.org.

This  new effort will present your parishioners with a rich and gratifying opportunity to enhance the lives of other members of the Diocese of Dallas. Thank you for supporting this effort.

Yours in Christ,

Arne J. Nelson                                          Vanna Slaughter

President/Chief Executive Officer                Director, Immigration and Legal Services