In the wake of executive action taken last week in the U.S., local immigrants who may be eligible for administrative relief are in jeopardy of becoming victims of fraud.
“Every time there are changes to immigration laws or policies, dishonest and unqualified businesses pop up that try to exploit people who are in a crisis situation and are vulnerable to begin with,” said Melissa Marantes, immigration attorney, Catholic Charities of Central Florida (CCCF).
“We are concerned about people becoming victimized during this time. This is a very real and serious concern of everyone involved,” added Marantes.
Catholic Charities of Central Florida is seeking to educate families in Central Florida. It is estimated that approximately 40,000 individuals in Central Florida may be eligible for administrative relief. They have posted information on their website and are available to speak to groups and media interviews.
CCCF will be assisting those needing help with administrative relief once the application process is further defined in the near future. At this time there is no program and no application process available.
CCCF has been providing legal immigration services for over 25 years. The agency is recognized and accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). CCCF, immigrant advocacy groups and its church and community partners will be establishing information sessions in the upcoming weeks to inform the community about the proposed program.
CCCF is grateful for President Obama’s recent announcement to defer deportations for many undocumented immigrants and their families. As Catholics, we believe God created human life in His image. Each person has tremendous dignity because each of us is created in the image of God.
“The decision to provide administrative relief to millions of individuals who have been living here for years will allow families to remain intact without the fear of being separated,” states Joseph Buranosky, executive director of CCCF. “We welcome these efforts which protect individuals and protect and reunite families and vulnerable children. While this announcement is welcome, the preference would be for Congress to take action and pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation to address all of the shortcomings of our immigration system.”
Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, said, “I strongly urge Congress and the President to work together to enact permanent reforms to the nation’s immigration system for the best interests of the nation and the migrants who seek refuge here.”