We are a group of immigration attorneys who specialize in religious worker immigration law. We assist Catholic archdioceses, dioceses, and religious communities in navigating this complex area of law by offering consultations, advice, and preparation of legal filings of immigration petitions and applications. We are fully aware of how complicated the process above can be, and we have firsthand experience observing how legal violations by a sponsor or a foreign-born religious worker can impact an organization’s or worker’s future immigration benefits. Our expertise in this field helps our clients to easily move through the process and have their matters resolved in the most expeditious way possible. We look forward to assisting you with your immigration case.
Religious Immigration Services is currently accepting new cases. Please contact us at RIS@cliniclegal.org or 301.565.4832 to learn more.
Travel Warning to ALL International Religious Workers in the U.S.
The past 48 hours have demonstrated how quickly the U.S. immigration landscape can change. President Trump’s executive order banning individuals from certain countries entry into the U.S. has been severely criticized not only here but also around the world. As with his other recent executive orders, clarity, guidance, and even legality of the orders are in question. The current travel ban is limited to people from seven countries:
Screened refugees, temporary visa holders, and even lawful permanent residents of the U.S. from these countries have been removed from international flights or detained by Customs and Border Protection officers at international airports across the country. In response, there have been several Federal District Court orders requiring CBP to not remove people from the U.S. (at ports of entry) and also to allow access to legal representation if a person is detained. It is not clear if CBP is fully complying with these orders. The events of this weekend are unprecedented in modern U.S. history. In addition, this may not be the end of the administration issuing executive orders and policies that will negatively affect immigrants. The situation is very much in flux.
Given the uncertainty of this matter, we feel it appropriate to warn ALL international religious workers serving in the U.S. (regardless of nationality) to re-evaluate travel outside the U.S. If you have a trip scheduled or you have traveled to any of the listed countries above in the last 5 years you should talk to your immigration attorney before departing the U.S.
If you are a religious worker from one of the countries listed above (regardless of your immigration status – temporary visa or lawful permanent resident) you should not travel outside the U.S. and you should speak with your immigration attorney before you consider leaving the U.S. If you depart the U.S., you may not be permitted to return. This travel ban is scheduled for 90 days but may continue longer. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional clarification once we learn anything. Please call your RIS attorney if you have any questions about travel during this time.
Recent RIS Blog Articles
Each year, the RIS staff spends time together to plan ahead for the next year. Through this two-day brainstorming session in November, team members discussed ways to improve RIS, in part by working more closely with other sections within CLINIC, as well as ways to increase our social media presence.
More than two dozen participants from as far away as Missouri, Texas and Nebraska met the staff of Religious Immigration Services in Garden Grove, California, in October for a day-long training in religious immigration.
The group included practitioners from Catholic Charities agencies and private firms as well as priests and religious, representing dioceses or religious communities.
Chris Ross joined CLINIC in January 2015. Prior to joining RIS, he worked on immigration policy. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law and is a member of the Maryland State Bar.
There are many concerns about how immigration policy will change and evolve in the U.S. in 2017. There will be a new administration and new staff responsible for managing the laws, regulations and policies of our country. International religious workers serving the church in the U.S. will not be immune from changes that may occur.