250 apply for passports at parish event

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CHULA VISTA — About 250 people processed their applications for passports or renewals, about 70 percent of them minors, at the Passport Day held at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish.

“This was a tremendous turnout,” said David DeMers, associate director for the diocese’s Office for Life, Peace and Justice, which organized the event on Jan. 11. The diocese worked in partnership with the San Diego Passport Agency and the parish, led by Father Ramiro Chan.

He said that the agency’s representative told him that it was the “best event they have had in a long time.”

Through a donation, diocese was able to cover the fees for all minors who applied for a passport card, which costs $50. A goal of the event was to help U.S. citizen minors who cross the border regularly using only their birth certificates.

The event was a team effort. A total of 32 volunteers from the parish were on hand to receive those who arrived. Eight people from the U.S. Postal Service received the applications and four from the U.S. Passport Agency processed them. A representative of Catholic Charities also was present to answer questions and to promote the organization’s immigration-related services.

DeMers said that this event is part of his office’s work to assist the immigrant community to obtain official documents and to provide them with useful information.

He’s working to develop the next Passport Day sponsored by the diocese, possibly in May in Calexico. Visit the diocese’s website for details.

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