Asylee Resource Hotline Closes After 11 Years

Oct 19, 2012
Wendy Rhein

Washington, DC (October 19, 2012) - The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) regretfully announces today the termination of its National Asylee Information and Referral Hotline.  The 11-year-old, toll-free hotline, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), has provided vital information and resources to more than 39,000 asylees since its inception.  ORR did not award funding to renew this project for 2013.    

The asylee hotline, provided by CLINIC and ran in partnership with Catholic Charities Community Services of the Archdiocese of New York, provided one-on-one support to those granted political asylum in the United States. It offered referral services to local refugee resettlement programs in 18 languages.  The hotline operators fielded more than 400 calls monthly from a diverse body of asylees representing about an average of 67 nationalities.

“Over the years the hotline has been an

invaluable resource for thousands of persons who sought and were granted political asylum in the United States,” said Donald Kerwin, Acting Executive Director of CLINIC.   “It has been an important tool in the integration of persons fleeing or at risk of persecution and torture in their homelands.   We strongly urge that it be reconstituted in the very near future.”

Most of the thousands of people granted asylum in the United States each year need immediate and accessible services. Through the asylee hotline, trained operators explained the kinds of assistance available to asylees and provided referrals to vital resources, including job training and placement, English language classes, financial assistance, medical assistance, and treatment for victims of torture – services which smoothed their adjustment and facilitated their self-sufficiency and integration in the United States.   

CLINIC is proud to have provided these much-needed resources over the last eleven years.  In recent months, calls to the hotline increased significantly as political and social unrest surged in the Middle East.  In the spring and summer of 2012, calls from Egyptian asylees increased by 62 percent, compared to calls received in the first half of the same year.