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The story of my American citizenship process was somewhat complicated but also full of hope.

Becoming a U.S. citizen was not part of my dreams in my younger years. All I desired was to be a sister, so I could get closer to God and his people.

My parents are active members of the Catholic Church in my birthplace of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. Their prayer life influenced my growth as a Catholic. As a young adult, I realized that God was calling me to serve him and after my graduation from college, I focused on discerning my vocation in life.

Working at CLINIC’s national office sometimes gives me the impression I am in the engine room of a great ocean liner. My coworkers are alongside me in the boiler room. The “crew” is our affiliate staff in 275 agencies with 1,800-plus immigration counselors. The “passengers” are immigrants they serve. We are traversing the globe. The forecast is clear. It’s full steam ahead.

Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center (KIAC) fulfills a dire need for immigration legal services in the West Puget Sound, a lowland area west of Seattle characterized by saltwater bays, islands, and peninsulas.  In this area, there are no other community-based organizations providing services to immigrants.  The West Puget Sound has an almost invisible immigrant population that largely goes unnoticed by service providers.  KIAC was founded in 2004 and since then has been working to assist immigrants in the West Puget Sound better their lives.    

CLINIC recently worked in partnership with the DePaul University School of Law to help key immigration service providers in Chicago learn more about developments at the National Visa Center (NVC) and improvements to come. Overall, the engagement was a tremendous success. It provided an important overview of the past and upcoming changes at the NVC and started a very important dialogue among the NVC team, CLINIC, and its affiliates on the effects of those improvements, suggestions for refinement, and opportunities for enhancements.

 

Why does the Southeast need more legal service providers? To understand the need, this blog series took a holistic approach to investigating who is in need, how, and why, from the assessment of the demographic changes to anti-immigrant sentiment. In the final blog post, we will assess how bad that lack actually is, and what exactly CLINIC is going to do about it.

Recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, CLINIC highlights the large, unmet need for immigration legal services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking.

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