ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)-An informational hosted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sparked interest with several Abilene leaders about immigration assistance and services.
This informational was privately held, invitation-only and was the first ever of its kind held in Abilene. Many in the audience say they were disappointed with its content; they expected information on naturalization and immigration services, and instead the presentations focused on documentation for federal agencies including I-90s.
As the representatives from the UCIS office concluded their presentations, they asked the audience their thoughts, and many asked for future presentations on what they were looking for in the first place–discussion on immigration rights and citizenship.
But, some information was able to be given during the discussion portion of the presentation. The Diocese of San Angelo Immigration Office sits right behind the Holy Family Catholic Church, but until the meeting many community leaders, including several Hispanic leaders, were unaware of its existence.
As the assistant principal at Ortiz Elementary School, Monica Diaz said she wants to help her students’ parents, many of whom live in fear.
“Sometimes parents–they just don’t want to come to school because they’re afraid that you know, ICE will come in and take them and it’s just lack of information,” said Diaz.
“I don’t want them to be afraid I want them to come and ask us questions and feel comfortable to walk into our office and talk to us and know that they’re safe with us, ” said Santana.
Patricia Santana, who will soon become the new face of the immigration office said this fear is common. She said there are even some fearful to come to her office, believing that there is an ICE officer on site.
She and her staff are qualified to provide legal advice and assistance with government documentation.
“We re-new DACA,” said Santana. “We re-new I-90s. We help with the N 400s which are citizen applications. We do advise if we can help them to become legal, permanent residents. We basically do everything an immigration lawyer does, and we have lawyers through our Catholic charity networking that we can go to to ask questions.”
Diaz said she now feels reassured knowing that there is a resource available for those in need.
“I mean I’m not going to know the answer to what they’re asking, but at least I can refer them to somebody that is more knowledgable in that area than I am,” Diaz said.