Every year we report to you on the state of our wonderful agency, the high impact worked done by CLINIC, and the impressive members of our network. Each year we also look back at the obstacles and challenges and remind each other that our work is not defined by the political climate or community sentiment about immigrants. Our work is guided by the principle that every human being has the right to live with dignity, with access to food, an education and safety. Our work is inspired by our belief that we are all children of God, created in His image to live in this world together as one human family. Our work and yours is inspired by the millions of people who have risked it all to reach our shores and our borders, all for a chance at freedom. It is they who should be remembered in this report because they give us the strength and inspiration to stay on the path of this sacred and challenging ministry.
The year 2011 brought to us more angst in the form of restrictive state and local immigration legislation. States seeking to infringe on the Federal domain of immigration succeeded in passing damaging laws that resulted in fear, chaos and mass exodus from places like Alabama and Georgia. Crops went unpicked and many children of immigrants, some U.S. citizens, faced for the first time the pains of discrimination and the fear of deportation. CLINIC’s State and Local Project was there to assist with legal analysis of these damaging laws both before passage and during implementation. CLINIC’s affiliates were also there to fiercely fight those laws and to help provide legal assistance in the unfortunate aftermath. The struggle continues, but our work is timeless.
2011 also brought some positive developments in the areas of prosecutorial discretion, enforcement priorities and evaluation of federal programs which fund and encourage cooperation and information sharing with local authorities. CLINIC was there with well-researched information about systemic and implementation issues. Our public recommendations are always valued because we speak for the country’s largest network of charitable legal services in the country. Because of its strong partnership with over 200 affiliates across the country, CLINIC is a strong partner in helping to improve our nation’s immigration system.
Each year we look back and review our work and our challenges. Each year we look back and count our blessings and our victories and are reminded that our difficult charge can only be met because of the commitment and invaluable expertise of our CLINIC staff and affiliated agencies. We thank you for reading our 2011 report. We are very proud of our accomplishments.
And lastly but not least I echo the feelings and thoughts of so many, thanking Maria Odom for these blessed years of having Maria Odom as our Executive Directors of CLINIC. We also thank Mr. Don Kerwin for assuming the leadership of CLINIC once again on an interim basis.
May God Bless us all as we seek justice, peace and love for all of our Sisters and Brothers.
With Christ’s Love,
Most Reverend Richard J. Garcia, D.D.
Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey