2009 Annual Report: Rising to the Challenge
Message from Executive Director and Board Chairman
Like us, you probably observed the healthcare debate and wondered what renewed immigration reform debate would do to our nation. Will we as a nation engage in a rational dialogue about real immigration reform? Will we hold this conversation without giving rise to the hatred, racism, bigotry, and cruelty that have crushed prior efforts at immigration reform? Will we get past the divide and move forward together to fix our broken immigration system?
Today, we are called to do more than extend a helping hand. We must speak with our neighbors, our friends, our families, our employers, our lawmakers. We should engage our fellow church members, our teachers, our old and our young. We need to educate, to advocate, and to create a new understanding of migration - one that is rooted in the best of the American spirit as well as the strength of our moral Catholic tradition. We are tasked to shine a bright light on our shared values of family, duty to cour children, and the inherent human hunger for SECUIRTY, FREEDOM, DIGNITY, and EQUALITY. We remain steadfast in our commitment to "Rising to the Challenge - Seeking Justice and Unity" for all.
Last year, we praised our network of professionals and volunteers for extending a hopeful hand in the face of increased enforcement activity and economic challenge. We firmly believe this same hope has carried us throughout the year. Hope has helped members of our network get up each day and fight for the rights of the persecuted; fight to keep families together; fight to help immigrant kids access higher education; fight for immigrant agricultural workers and against anti-immigrant state laws; fight for freedom of religion and fight for laws that bring justice to all.
It is an immense challenge we face, but we face it with enormous confidence in our resilient network of legal services agencies. Day in and day out, our network serves our nation's poorest immigrants with compassion and determination. This year, have seen them rise to the challenge by helping a large number of Haitian nationals living in the United States apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). We have seen them rise to the challenge of serving newly arrived Haitian citizens, who seek safety and shelter after enduring the devastating earthquake in their home country. In spite of the toll on their local resources, their staff, and even their personal lives, they continue to raise their voices to ensure that the U.S. government keeps its promise of providing much needed help to the people of Haiti.
We offer our sincere gratitude to the staff at CLINIC for their vision and devotion to building a strong network of legal service providers. Their 2009 accomplishments on behalf of immigrants and our network member agencies are included in this report.
We pray for our immigrant brothers and sisters, who have arrived in the aftermath of destruction or economic calamity, and for all those who have lived in the shadows for much too long. We pray for those who serve them. May we persevere in our service as well as find wisdowm to change hearts and minds in our hopeful quest for the day when we are "strangers and aliens no longer" (Eph, 2:19).
Maria M. Odom, Executive Director
Most Rev. Jaime Soto, Board Chairman
To read CLINIC's 2009 Annual Report, click here.