Tweets to action and streaming images of the protests sweeping Northern Africa and Western Asia prove that the Arab Spring has forever altered life for those in the regions of unrest. However, the toll of the Arab Spring has only begun to be witnessed in the number of asylees to the United States from these areas. As campaigns of civil resistance spread from Tunisia to Egypt and Libya, just to name a few, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has responded to a surge in callers to CLINIC’s National Asylee Information and Referral Line.
Jury duty. While many see it as something to avoid, for naturalized citizens like me, jury duty represents an opportunity to fulfill our aspirations for integration and civic participation.
For immigrants to the U.S., citizenship is the realization of a dream; it’s the imaginary rubber-stamp that reads “you made it.” Our naturalization ceremonies provide an unanticipated eye opener, when, with our right hands raised, we immigrants realize that our rights as citizens do not come free. We learn we are expected to uphold the constitution, bear arms in case of war, and accept many other responsibilities in service to our new country. And, for the most part, we are happy to oblige (perhaps, in part, because we think that’s the way all U.S. citizens feel about their nation deep down).
“The Wrong Help Can Hurt” is the recently unveiled national slogan adopted by USCIS and created by the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of San Antonio (CCAOSA) Immigration Department, a proud CLINIC member and the oldest BIA recognized agency in Texas. A partnership between myriad agencies, this campaign is designed to educate our communities about fraudulent immigration schemes and shut down these scam artists who are preying on the most vulnerable immigrants. CCAOSA is taking this campaign one step further by instructing clients to say “Show me YOUR papers” or “Muestreme TUS Papeles,” before ever allowing anyone to assist them with their immigration application.
Several government agencies including United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and the Department of Justice’s Civil Division have joined forces to participate in the Administration’s Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law Initiative.
In the ten years since September 11, 2001, our national and personal stories have been irrevocably changed. The terrible toll of that day continues to impact our politics, families and identities as Americans. As we mark a decade since the devastating events of 9/11, CLINIC reflects upon the ways in which the experience shaped the U.S. immigration landscape and recognizes the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and the foundation of our nation’s history that timelessly encourage us to endure.