CLINIC values the dedication and commitment to service demonstrated by our member agencies in their work with their communities. We wish to highlight outstanding individual agency staff in a series of profiles that will appear each month in Catholic Legal Immigration News.
Program Director, BIA
Immigration Legal Services
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, San Jose, CA
How many years have you spend working in immigration?
- 19 years and one month (2003)
Why do you do this work?
- Helping clients emerge from challenges and later become productive members of the community inspires me.
What do you love about your job?
- Our staff members are former refugees and immigrants from developing countries. I love working with a very dedicated team of 10 staff members who went through similar experiences as the clients we are serving.
Tell me about a client’s case that has stuck with you over the years?
- An immigrant client had been enduring abuse from her husband but she was afraid to call the police or seek help because she did not have immigration papers. Her husband threatened to have her deported. Finally, fear for her safety overcame her fear of deportation, and she fled the abusive home. She moved in and out of shelters until she came for a legal consultation. Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County helped her file a self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). For several years following her successful petition, client renewed her employment authorization annually. Eventually, she was granted lawful permanent residence and her self-confidence grew tremendously. She also improved her job skills and employment through taking ESL classes. Now she is a self-sufficient, empowered woman.
How do you engage CLINIC?
- CLINIC provides excellent technical support when we need it the most. When we are faced with a complex case, we know who to call for an answer, or help for legal analysis. CLINIC also helps us connect with other affiliates for best practices in the field.