CLINIC AWARDED GRANT FOR GULF OF MEXICO PROJECT
Catholic Charities USA grants $500,000 for two year legal services expansion
WASHINGTON, DC: Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. received a $500,000, two-year grant from Catholic Charities USA Disaster Relief Fund. The Gulf of Mexico Immigration Project will expand legal immigration services in six Louisiana and Mississippi dioceses. Still recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the diocesan programs must build to meet the needs of returning and new immigrants.
According to U.S. Census statistics, more than one-half of immigrants affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita lived in the metropolitan areas of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula. Apart from longstanding immigrant populations, tens of thousands of immigrant laborers migrated to the Gulf Coast after the hurricanes.
Catholic Charities in the affected region report that immigrants suffered disproportionately from the hurricane. Many undocumented immigrants feared coming forward for emergency assistance. According to Jeff Chenoweth, CLINIC's Director of National Programs, "this project seeks to restore and strengthen immigrant families as part of the long-term recovery effort. The project will focus on developing programs in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Shreveport (Louisiana) and Biloxi and Jackson (Mississippi).
The funding will provide for new staff, including immigration attorneys, accredited paralegals and outreach workers. CLINIC will help by offering legal training and technical support. Some of the most pressing areas of immigration assistance in the post-Katrina areas include: family reunification; relief from removal for persons in detention; recovery of unpaid wages and other labor abuse claims; and access to housing.
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