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    Catholic Press Explores Parish ID Strategy in Dallas

    [Excerpt below]

    It has been a year since Texas passed SB4, a measure that requires police and county sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. The measure also grants local law enforcement the right to question the immigration status of anyone they arrest….

    Father Forge, leaders of the Dallas Area Interfaith and more than 1,000 others met with law enforcement officials from Dallas and neighboring communities Carrollton and Farmers Branch, last November to see what could be done to quell fears. The problem, according to law enforcement, comes when individuals pulled over for traffic violations cannot identify themselves.

    “They want to know who they’re talking to,” Father Forge said of police. “Well, we already issue our volunteers with ID cards, so we jumped on that….”

    Church in Texas Issues IDs to Help the Undocumented Navigate Police Encounters, America Magazine [pdf]

    Why Some Parishes are Offering IDs to Undocumented Texas, Catholic News Agency

    [pdf]

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  • North Texas Police Verify Acceptance of Parish Identification Cards

    Nearly 300 parishioners of San Juan Diego Catholic Church [photo above] lined up by 8am on a Saturday morning to apply for a church-issued identification cards offered through the Catholic Diocese.  Within five hours, 500 applications were filed and 300 cards issued that day.

    Building on a groundbreaking accord between Dallas Area Interfaith (DAI) and the Police Departments of Dallas, Carrollton and Farmers Branch — in which the police agreed to accept parish identification cards as alternative ID — upwards of 1,100 parish ID cards have been issued.  With some parishes requiring active membership from applicants for at least six months before issuing the card, the wait list of submitted applications has, so far, exceeded 2,200 applicants and is expected to grow.

    This joint effort with the Catholic Diocese is bringing immigrants out of the shadows and into fuller participation in congregational life.  At San Diego Diego Catholic alone, 1,000 applicants were newly registered as members of their parish, even after years of regular church attendance.  Teams of leaders identified by DAI, and trained (in Spanish) through a collaborative effort with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), help keep the cost of the cards affordable for families.

    Without an ID, said one parishioner, “we are scared of what could happen if we are stopped by the police.” With parish ID, families are feeling a greater sense of belonging and confidence in dealing with law enforcement.

    Said DAI leader, Adriana Godinez, “For us, this is a really important document. We cannot take it lightly. It’s something that person is going to show to an officer.”

    In training sessions recently held, police departments have committed to training their officers to recognize these cards as alternative identification.  Dallas County Community College has also committed to accepting the IDs, for purposes of enrolling in GED, US Citizenship and English-language classes.

    According to one applicant, Antonio Coahila, “It’s a bit of a relief. It’s like you finally have an identity.”

    Why Some Parishes are Offering IDs to Undocumented Texas, Catholic News Agency [pdf]

    North Texas Officers Accepting Church Issued ID Cards, NBC-DFW [pdf] [video]

    Dallas-Area Immigrants Apply for Catholic Church-Issued IDs to Ease Deportation Fears, Dallas Morning News [pdf]

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  • DAI & Catholic Diocese of Dallas Stand with Family and Stop Deportation

    When Fr. Daza of Nuestra Señora del Pilar Catholic Church heard that his parishioner, Adolfo Mejia, was in deportation proceedings, he immediately picked up the phone and called Dallas Area Interfaith.

    “It’s the children who suffer,” he says.

    With family unity and the livelihood of six US-born children at stake, Dallas Area Interfaith and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas stepped in to stand with the Mejia family after the father, Adolfo Mejia, was deported in March.

    “This is not a time for isolation,” said Socorro Perales, an organizer with Dallas Area Interfaith, who went to immigration court with the mother. “This is a time to build relationships.”

    [In photo: Catholic Bishop Greg Kelly stands with Lucia Mejia and her family outside the Earle Cabell Federal Court Building before a court hearing for Adolfo Mejia.  Photo Credit: Jeffrey McWhorter / Dallas Morning News]

    US Citizen Kids Face the Deportation of Their Immigrant Parents, Dallas Morning News [pdf]

    Deportación de Padres Traumatiza a Niños, Dallas Al Día

     

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  • DAI, Catholic Parish ID Effort Launches in North Texas, Protecting Families and Rebuilding Churches

    Building on a groundbreaking accord between Dallas Area Interfaith (DAI) and the Police Departments of Dallas, Carrollton and Farmers Branch -- in which the police agreed to accept parish identification cards as alternative ID -- upwards of 800 parish ID cards have been issued since the campaign was launched in March 2018. With some parishes requiring active membership from applicants for at least six months before issuing the card, the waiting list of submitted applications has, so far, exceeded 2,000 applicants and is expected to grow.

    The joint effort with the Catholic Diocese is bringing immigrants out of the shadows and into fuller participation in congregational life. 700 applicants were newly registered as members of their parish, even after years of regular church attendance. Teams of leaders identified by DAI, and trained (in Spanish) through a collaborative effort with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), are helping keep the cost of the parish IDs affordable for families.

    Without an ID, said one parishioner, "we are scared of what could happen if we are stopped by the police." With parish ID, families are feeling a greater sense of belonging and confidence in dealing with law enforcement.

    In training sessions held this month, police departments have committed to training their officers to recognize these cards as alternative identification.

    [Photo Credit: Telemundo 39]

    Crean Identificación Para Ayudar a Inmigrantes en el Metroplex, Telemundo 39 [pdf

    Additional Background

    Message from Chief of Farmers Branch Police Department

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  • Success Stories Like This One Show How Dallas Can Help End Poverty

    [Excerpt]

    Adriana, a single mother of two, is a Skill Quest participant. Before the program, she earned $600 a month cleaning homes, and the thought of going to school was a dream. Now when she finishes her radiology degree next year, she will be placed in a job in Dallas earning $50,000 to start.

    Stories like Adriana's are possible because of the public investment made in providing the wrap-around services for her to attend college. So that things such as rent, child care, and navigating college as a first-generation student do not create barriers that keep our future skilled workforce from graduating and meeting the job demand in our city.

    So why does a city like Dallas need Adriana? The answer: Adriana represents the future of Texas. She is a young, uneducated single mother and lives below the federal poverty line. She also serves an economic opportunity for our city. 

    Success Stories Like This One Show How Dallas Can Help Residents Pull Themselves Out of Poverty, Dallas Morning News [pdf]

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