Recent Blog Entries
- New Americans Campaign comes together for Citizenship Drive in Los Angeles
- Ushering in a New Season for CLINIC and our 11 Million Undocumented Neighbors
- Living in God's Image, Embracing the Immigrant
- Lent: A Reform of the Heart
- Immigration Policy and New Estimates of the U.S. Unauthorized Population
- A Lenten Call to Embrace Acts of Charity
- CLINIC Holds Unique, “Mega” Workshop Training Event in Los Angeles
- Do Immigration Laws Deny Religious Freedom?
- Joyful Anticipation
- Las Posadas: An Invitation to Hospitality
By: Tessa Winkler
Are you ready? No, I'm not asking if you've decorated your Christmas tree or crossed items off of your shopping list. Have you considered how you will embark on the journey of faith that is encouraged of each of us during this season of Advent and, particularly, in the Church's "Year of Faith?"
In his "Motu Propio," Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict XVI declared October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013 as the "Year of Faith" and invited the faithful everywhere to "communicate Christ to individuals and all people in the Church's pilgrimage along the pathways of history." The season of Advent is the perfect time to get serious about preparing ourselves for a new year filled with faithful service.
By: Emmanuel Villegas
Imagine sleeping on the sidewalk in 90+ degree Arizona weather with only a manila envelope full of documents as your pillow. To the average youth, this may seem like the ultimate torture. To others, it may seem as the norm as they await the release of the newest smart phone or the latest version of that coveted videogame. But to a select few, this sacrifice is only the beginning of a bright future.
It has been more than four months since President Barack Obama announced his plans to implement the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in the United States. Ever since his announcement for an August 15th start date it seems as though non-profit organizations such as our own have been on a non-stop mission to complete as many DACA applications as humanly possible.
By: Alfredo Rivas
I’m Alfredo Rivas and I have been living in the United States for 11 years. My arrival in the United States was a confusing time, but one thing I knew was that I wanted to be together with my family. The thought of being separated from them would be like waking up in a dark room, where no matter where you look, all you find is darkness. As time progressed, I quickly found myself falling in love with this country and everything it stands for. I have made many close friends and valuable memories that I will forever treasure. The thought that I could one day wake up in a place other than the United States is frightening. That’s why Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) means so much to me.
DACA means opportunities; finally being able to contribute and make a difference in this country. It’s like the beltway system with multiple roads and exits, each of them leading to a different
By: Fernanda DeSouza
Thirteen years is a very long time. Thirteen years is a little over half my life. Thirteen years is how long I have called America my home. And it has taken that long for me to finally feel a certain weight off my shoulders. Being a DREAMer has been a long road. Not only have the simplest things in life proven to be an obstacle but also discouraging because knowing that my life was in the hands of strangers on Capitol Hill was a hard pill to swallow.
Albeit, it has been difficult to be barred from holding a driver’s license, traveling abroad, or receiving scholarships, however, the hardest part has been lying to those around me to ward off their questions. After having moved across the United States and seeing and doing the things I have, the last thing I want to do is lie to others and not be true to myself. But naturally, there was nothing I could legally do to pursue my American Dream.
By: Rommel Calderwood
With Citizenship Day on September 17th, I would like to reflect on my experience working with a national multi-organizational initiative to encourage the country's lawful permanent residents (LPR) to become U.S. citizens. In every facet of society, immigrants are integral members in the economy and the political discourse. With this in mind, CLINIC has pursued steps to reach the approximate 8 million LPRs who are eligible to become citizens.
As part of this collaborative, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to help with the planning and implementation of CLINIC's first professional multimedia campaign known as La Ciudadanía: Cambia Tu Vida (Citizenship: It Changes Your Life). The initiative, in partnership with Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, strives to motivate the 1.2 million legal permanent residents in Los Angeles to become U.S. citizens through an eclectic package of television, radio, and print public service announcements (PSA).
By: Lauren Graham Sullivan
Over a year ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would focus its resources on the highest priority cases. This effort to implement new enforcement standards through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion (PD) had me doing back flips as I read the guidance addressed to all ICE directors, chief counsel, and field officers. This memo and the statements that followed signaled a change in the enforcement practices and priorities of ICE – the same agency that conducted factory raids in 2007 that resulted in the detention and deportation of breastfeeding mothers and other vulnerable populations.
As the months passed, I realized that the PD memos had less of an impact than I had hoped. Just last week, one of my pro bono attorneys reported that an ICE officer didn’t know about PD, and once informed, wrote a one-sentence response stating that ICE would “decline to exercise PD in [his] client’s case.” There was no discussion of the equities, which in this case
By: Susan Schreiber
Dateline Chicago, August 15, 2012, 7:30 a.m. Rounding the curve to park at Navy Pier, my jaw dropped at the sight of a thousand or more young adults gathered on the lawn and sidewalks in front of the Pier, waiting for the 8 a.m. check-in time for the deferred action mega-workshop sponsored by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). I had volunteered to be a legal screener so I hurried to arrive at my assigned post before 8:00.
Once inside the building, I headed to the grand ballroom – the primary site for application support services, including eligibility assessment and legal screening, application preparation and exit review. At that point, I realized that the crowd outside were the late arrivals – hundreds and hundreds of eager applicants had waited at Navy Pier overnight to apply as soon as the doors opened for business. They were joined by thousands more who arrived in the early morning hours. Although some people were still waking up from their overnight vigil when I arrived,
By: Karen Siciliano Lucas
The Supreme Court came so close to blocking Arizona’s “papers, please” mandate in June and its failure to do so has serious consequences for immigrant advocates and the communities they serve. In addition to claiming that the Court could not really tell what the mandate meant, it also drew a distinction between arresting or detaining someone for possible unlawful presence (which states cannot do on their own) and simply “communicating” with the federal government about someone’s immigration status (which states can do).
In practice, this is a false distinction. And it is one that will continue to permit biased, pre-textual police behavior to shape the federal removal process; it is also one that puts CLINIC affiliates on the front lines of the need to meet an increased demand for charitable legal services and state and local advocacy efforts.
For example, one evening last July, while talking a stroll through a park near their
By: Allison Posner
In the month since the President announced the policy to grant Deferred Action to DREAMers, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with many extraordinary and inspiring young people. From the young woman whose family got legal “help” from someone who only filed papers for the parents but not their children, to the Ivy Leaguer who, when he learned he was undocumented, began reading the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to search for answers, every one of the young high school students and graduates that I have met has expressed the same feeling – hope.
They have always had hope -- even when many of the more seasoned advocates around them despaired -- that by working together, supporting each other and developing as leaders, they would find a way to bring about change. Now their hope is for a future which can include schooling and employment, not deportation and separation from their families and the only way of life they have ever known.
At CLINIC, we have hope for these young people too. But there are still so many questions
By: McKenzie Roese
The fourth of July. It’s a date that resonates with many of us– young, old, male, female, citizens and immigrants. It’s a time when families and communities come together, cook burgers on the grill, and watch the night sky boom with fireworks as people from across the nation commemorate America’s Independence Day. The fourth of July arguably generates the biggest displays of patriotism, pride, and nationalism within the US. There is something magical about Independence Day; for one day, despite the politics or beliefs that divide us, Americans come together to celebrate the country’s heritage, history, laws, and citizenship.
While, for some, it is a time to kick back and relax, I encourage you to think about what it means to be a citizen of the United States. From personal experience, my American identity and citizenship have not always been the most salient aspect of my life.