San Angelo Catholic Diocese still accepting applications for DACA aid


ABILENE, Texas - Nelly Diaz's voicemail was filled with messages from concerned undocumented immigrants Tuesday after President Donald Trump formally announced the decision to end the DACA program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Diaz works with the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Angelo, which has served hundreds of undocumented immigrants in 39 counties since 2012.

The program was started by the Obama Administration back in 2012 and was meant to protect 800,000 children of immigrants who are now at risk of being deported. In Texas, there are approximately 140,000 undocumented people who applied for the DACA program, according to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

"These are people who are wanting to stay here to become productive citizens of the United States and they are a big boost to our economy," said Diaz.

Trump said he hopes Congress will resolve the immigration issue with "heart and compassion, but through lawful Democratic process, while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve."

Diaz said her heart hurts for undocumented students attending local universities. Those who are in the DACA program are not eligible for scholarships and pay for their education out of pocket. Every two years, DACA recipients apply to renew their status.

Diaz said the Diocese's immigration services will still be accepting applications until Congress makes their decision before March of 2018. There are offices in both San Angelo and Abilene.

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