Nathalie Dietrich and Silvia Arias Barber, both CLINIC Fellows in the Southeast, work with immigrants on a daily basis. Though they are always looking for ways to better serve this population, this past World Refugee Day offered a unique opportunity to also educate those unfamiliar with the experiences of immigrants in America.
Nathalie Dietrich knows immigration from multiple angles. Although she “never could have imagined that she would be living in the United States” one day, that journey has brought her to advocate for immigrants, first as a volunteer, then as a legal assistant and now as a BIA-accredited representative.
U.S. immigration law is complex and it can take many years for a family to be reunited in the United States through the current immigration system. It is also expensive! It costs thousands of dollars per person in fees to the U.S. government agencies responsible for processing applications, conducting background checks, interviewing applicants and issuing official documents for identification and work authorization.
Today, on World Refugee Day, I had the honor of attending a naturalization ceremony at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Thirty-six men and women who left their homes and sought protection in the United States took the oath of allegiance and waved American flags as they were proclaimed citizens of the United States of America.
“Ok, I’d be willing to stipulate to humanitarian asylum.” We were approximately 30 minutes into the recess the Immigration Judge took, during which we were supposed to negotiate a favorable solution for our client, when DHS said the words we had been waiting to hear since we first met our client in October.
An immigrant herself, Miriam Martinez understands the challenges her clients face. She was separated from her parents when she was young, had a painful journey to the U.S. as a child and has lived as an undocumented immigrant in the United States.
Students in Des Moines, Iowa who have received immigration status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, are testing their cinematography skills each year in a contest sponsored by American Friends Service Committee.
For 11 years, the Tax EZ program, offered by Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County has helped clients prepare nearly 15,000 returns, generating millions of dollars in refunds.
For the 2016 tax season, Steve Hicken, Division Director of Economic Development Services, shifted the location of services from the Catholic Charities offices to parishes. This approach encourages interactions between newcomers and the people of their new hometowns, epitomizing immigrant integration on the local level. Ultimately, it may also result in higher numbers of tax returns being filed.