Located in the heart of Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, the 35-foot high Positivi-Tree towers above the crowd, filled with brightly colored umbrellas. The artists created the installation with their multicultural community in mind, saying, “Positivi-Tree was designed to represent coming together, feeling safe as well as friendship, unity and inclusivity.
This month’s featured fellow is Sylvia Arias with Catholic Charities in Biloxi. The Peru native told CLINIC about how she came to work with immigrants and what she finds more rewarding about her job.
Susana Caterina Quiroga was born in Puno, Peru on May 25, 1978, not 1943 as her American lawyer indicated on her immigration forms. An attorney herself, Quiroga was wary of her lawyer’s suggestion to sign the forms without looking them over. Trusting her instinct, she insisted despite not fully understanding them; which turned out to be a good idea because she caught the mistake the attorney later blamed on his paralegal. This experience still stands out to her as one of the main reasons she decided to work in immigration.
CLINIC Immigrant Integration manager Leya Speasmaker’s newest blog encourages citizens to embrace newcomers in their neighborhood and host gatherings in their homes. This allows families, children especially, to learn and grow as they get to know cultures different from their own.
At the end of the summer, CLINIC partnered with faith and community-based organizations around the country to bring awareness to the growing number of immigrant mothers with infants and young children who are locked in detention centers. Supporters held symbolic baby showers in 10 cities, sent cards denouncing family detention to Jeh Johnson, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, while using social media to document the campaign and continue to raise awareness.
Immigration advocates and state legislators across the country had their hands full protecting “sanctuary cities” this past legislative term.
These cities and local municipalities are known for enforcing policies that prohibited local law enforcement from working with federal immigration authorities without just cause. Louisiana, in particular, faced unique challenges Robert Tasman, executive director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops (LCCB), attributes to the conflicting values of its residents and leaders.
Monica Callahan began working with Catholic Immigration Services of Little Rock as a CLINIC Fellow less than a year ago. She did not have much exposure to the complex issues of immigration law, but was inspired by her background with the Spanish language.
CLINIC attorneys examine the special immigrant non-minister religious worker program, which is set to expire on September 30, 2016, unless Congress takes action to reauthorize it.
The Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, co-sponsored by CLINIC, typically focuses on nonpartisan policy discussion with an academic focus. This year it offered an electorally timely twist: not just policy, but politics as well.
CLINIC Advocacy Attorney Christy Williams became a citizen five years ago. While she is proud of her experience, she remembers not seeing its true value until working with immigrants who had more challenging citizenship journeys.