Message from CLINIC’s Board Chairman and Executive Director
If the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) did not exist, the Catholic Church would need to create it. CLINIC provides invaluable service to low-income and at-risk newcomers throughout the United States.
It does so primarily by providing training and support services to the nation’s largest network of charitable legal programs for immigrants, which operate within Catholic Charities agencies and dioceses. CLINIC directly serves particularly vulnerable immigrant populations, including persons in detention, individuals fleeing persecution, elderly refugees, lawful permanent residents and lowwage laborers. It also represents Catholic dioceses, archdioceses and religious institutes who wish to sponsor foreign–born priests and religious to work in the United States. By engaging the media and advocating with officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, CLINIC helps to fix flaws in the U.S. immigration system.
CLINIC’s work has never been more important. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 led to a new emphasis on national security and our nation’s immigration system. The Catholic Church values security and recognizes the right of a sovereign state to control its borders in furtherance of the common good. However, Church teaching also emphasizes the God-given rights and responsibilities of newcomers, including the right to migrate in order to work, to live with family and to be free from persecution.
In 2004, CLINIC’s Board of Directors, along with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, initiated Justice for Immigrants, A Journey of Hope: The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform. This campaign will unify and focus the efforts of the Catholic Church in the United States in support of immigration reform. The Church supports legislation that would (1) enable undocumented residents to earn permanent legal status in the United States; (2) allow future workers to enter and to work in a safe, humane and regulated manner; and (3) allow for timely family reunification.
During the coming year, CLINIC looks forward to promoting and, hopefully, to implementing these changes that are aimed at promoting justice for immigrants in the United States.