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Rita Dhakal joined the Religious Immigration Section of CLINIC in June 2009.  She currently works with Attorney Megan Turngren to help to provide legal services to RIS clients.  In addition, Rita volunteers with Legal Services of Northern Virginia, where she interviews clients for case intake and placement for the Uncontested Divorce Clinic.

*The following reflection originally appeared as a feature in Catholic Charities USA's Advent Reflection Series

I am Sister Delia Obenza, O.P., a full member of the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines. I am currently assigned as the Director of Religious Education Program at Holy Angels Church in Colma, California.  I am also the regional secretary of the Hawaii region.

In 1990, I was born in Mexico into a staunchly Roman Catholic family. When I was twelve years old, my immediate family illegally migrated to California.  We have lived there ever since.

Pope Francis’ message for the 101st World Day of Migrants and Refugees embraces the theme Church without frontiers, Mother to all.  Celebrated on January 18, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees is an opportunity to reflect on our faith and the challenges facing migrants.  Ultimately, the Holy Father urges a “universal network of cooperation, based on safeguarding the dignity and centrality of every human person.”

One of CLINIC’s most fundamental goals is to boost legal capacity in underserved areas in the United States.  An area seeing a severe shortage in low-cost, professional immigration legal service providers, the Inland Empire (or the “IE” as it is known) region of Southern California is home to over one million foreign-born persons.  Training Occupational Development Education Communicates (TODEC) is one service provider assisting newcomers with quality, charitable legal help in the IE.

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