By Tessa McKenzie
CLINIC values the dedication and commitment to service demonstrated by our affiliate agencies in their work with their communities. We wish to highlight outstanding individual agency staff in a series of profiles appearing monthly.
Immigration Legal Services
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
First joining the team as a volunteer attorney, Ryan transitioned to employment with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City in 2013 and currently serves as Assistant Director of the Immigration Legal Services Program. Ryan attributes a strong interest in international issues and maintaining Spanish fluency that led him to his work impacting the lives of vulnerable immigrants throughout the western two-thirds of Oklahoma.
Consultations, representation, family petitions, and assistance to victims of trafficking are just a few services Ryan offers potential clients and he especially values the variety and quality of assistance provided by Catholic Charities. “We wear so many hats,” Patterson explains, “It’s a broad cross section of cases every day.” He is grateful to apply his legal expertise so diversely, yet, Ryan affirms that the people are what attract him most to this work. “I love interacting with clients,” Patterson says, “I am interested in the person more than anything else.”
A case Ryan found particularly moving is of a young man named Miguel. Miguel, married with three children and one on the way, was in the midst of removal proceedings as the result of a minor traffic infraction after more than 15 years in the United States. Miguel’s son suffers from a rare genetic disorder. It was the hardship that Miguel’s son would have faced upon the deportation of his father that ultimately led to Miguel’s grant of Cancellation of Removal. “It was this child, so dependent on the support of his parents and doctors to survive, who had the power to keep his family together in the end,” said Patterson.
He is quick to insist that he could not do his work without the incredible talent and dedication of the Immigration Legal Services staff including the strong support of Associate Director Margie Solis and Executive Director Patrick Raglow.
Whether working with unaccompanied minors or raising awareness of human trafficking and modern-day slavery in Oklahoma, Ryan and the team at Catholic Charities are helping Oklahoma build a more welcoming community, following its mission of providing help, creating hope and serving all.