The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., was established in 1988 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to support a rapidly growing network of community-based immigration programs. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act had made it possible for 2.7 million people to obtain permanent resident status (along with new sanctions for employers who hired undocumented immigrants and increased border enforcement). Demand for low-cost immigration legal services skyrocketed. CLINIC’s creation enabled Catholic organizations to get the necessary training and institutional support to help meet that need.
The legally distinct 501(c)(3) organization was initially comprised of a handful of diocese-based immigration legal services agencies. As CLINIC observes its 30th anniversary, it has grown to about 330 programs in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The network includes faith-based institutions, farmworker programs, domestic violence shelters, ethnic community-focused organizations, libraries and other entities that serve immigrants. Agencies in the network employ about 2,300 accredited representatives (link to DOJ accreditation page) and attorneys who, in turn, serve hundreds of thousands of low-income immigrants each year. CLINIC and its affiliate agencies represent low-income immigrants without regard for their race, religion, gender, ethnic group or other distinguishing characteristics.
Facts about CLINIC
- CLINIC’s network in 2017 conducted an estimated 276,000 consultations, more than half of which became cases for network agencies.
- Also in 2017, we estimate that CLINIC’s network filed as many as 247,000 applications, petitions, motions, or waivers. Those applications served about 500,000 people, including applicants’ dependents.
- Volunteers accounted for more than 84,000 hours of assistance in 2017, enabling programs to provide legal services to a broader base.
- Nearly 5,400 community outreach presentations in 2017 reached nearly 325,000 people, providing information about legal rights and options.
Among recent publications and resources by CLINIC
A brief video about the history of CLINIC