Catholic Charities San Diego holds DACA workshop for young Dreamers

Posted at 9:32 AM, Sep 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-16 17:38:15-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Catholic Charities San Diego is holding a workshop Saturday for young Dreamers affected by the DACA program uncertainty.

Katia Ortiz is one of them. She said her parents brought her to the U.S. from Mexico when she was three. She said she has no recollection of where she was born.

“It was really tough,” Ortiz said about feeling left out. She said she could not travel on class trips, she could not get a driver’s license and she could not apply for a college scholarship. 

She said DACA opened a lot of doors for her. 

“I got a job, and I got my license,” she explained. She also said she started attending college. 

Earlier this month, President Trump called to cut the program in March.

"It’s like you have everything and then it’s gone," Ortiz added.  "It’s tough thinking about, but I think what we all have to do is sit down and reflect.

"Frankly, at this time, I really don’t know what I would do."

Catholic Charities San Diego helped about 700 people obtain DACA status, the group said. They said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue processing pending initial application accepted as of Sept. 5, 2017 and pending renewal applications already filed. They went on to say USCIS will continue accepting renewal applications until Oct. 5, 2017 from applicants whose DACA expires between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018. As it stands, all applications after Oct. 5, 2017 will be rejected.

The group is holding free, bilingual information sessions, followed by one-on-one assessments.

Those who qualify will be given an appointment to work with an accredited Catholic Charities staff member to complete their renewal application the next day.

Scholarships are also available to cover the $495 application fee.

Saturday's workshop was at St. Jude's Shrine of the West, 3785 Boston Ave.

The next sessions will be:

Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. at Holy Trinity Parish, 405 Ballard St., El Cajon.

Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Mission San Luis Rey, 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside

Thursday, Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 4177 Marlborough Ave., San Diego