Holy Cross Ministries offers help, encouragement to DACA recipients to renew their permits
Friday, May. 08, 2020
SALT LAKE CITY — Holy Cross Ministries of Utah has continued providing help for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, even though the HCM office has been closed since the COVID-19 restrictions have been in place.
DACA is a federal program that allows some young adult undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to work, and also protects them against deportation. Those who are approved through the program must reapply every two years.
Although the Trump administration in 2017 ordered the DACA program to end, renewals are in effect until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the case.
Some DACA recipients are nurses, firefighters, ambulance drivers or students. “They are helping the country, so it’s important that they renew their permits,” said Jakelinne Capella-Aponte, a client support specialist at Holy Cross Ministries.
At HCM, those seeking to renew their permits are helped by Jessica Lerma, a paralegal who is a DACA specialist. Lerma will ask several questions “to make sure there is not another legal route that they might have” to a visa or citizenship, she said.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is still accepting and adjudicating DACA renewal applications from anyone who has previously had DACA, “and this is a good opportunity, since we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Lerma said.
If necessary, Lerma can help people file the DACA renewal forms.
“This is really a great opportunity that DACA people have to keep their status,” she said, adding that the recommendation is to renew the permit as soon as possible pending the resolution in the Supreme Court.
“People can renew their DACA at any time. It’s true that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recommends to do so four or five months before the permit expires, but in reality people can do it at any time,” Lerma said.
According to the USCIS, those in the DACA program will not be placed in removal proceedings or removed from the U.S. unless the Department of Homeland Security chooses to terminate the deferral.
To schedule an appointment for DACA renewal at Holy Cross Ministries, contact Jakelinne Capella-Aponte, (801) 261-3440.