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Compilation of Catholic Social Teaching Passages on Migration

Cover of Notable Quotes document

Modern Catholic social teaching is the body of social principles and moral teaching that is articulated in the papal, conciliar, and other official documents issued since the late nineteenth century dealing with the economic,political, and social order. This teaching is rooted in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures as well as in traditional philosophical and theological teachings of the Church.

CLINIC's "Modern Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration: Notable Quotes" is a compilation of excerpts from the encyclical and conciliar documents that are typically considered core texts, as well as some key teaching documents issued by national bishops conferences and Vatican congregations, which contribute to the ongoing development of Catholic social teaching.

The excerpts in the document are instances that touch on immigration issues. The depth and richness of Catholic social teaching is best understood through a direct reading of these documents.

Download Modern Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration: Notable Quotes (pdf)

This document will be updated periodically. Last updated June 18, 2015



Passages quoted in Modern Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration are from the following sources:

Major Documents

Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Labor) – Pope Leo XIII, 1891

Exsul Familia Nazarethana (Apostolic Constitution on the Spiritual Care to Migrants) – Pope Pius XII, 1952

Mater et Magistra, (Mother and Teacher) – Saint Pope John XXIII, 1961

Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) –Saint Pope John XXIII, 1963

Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) Vatican Council II, 1965

Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples) – Pope Paul VI, 1967

Octogesima Adveniens (A Call to Action) – Pope Paul VI, 1971

Justicia in Mundo (Justice in the World) – Synod of Bishops, 1971

Laborem Exercens (On Human Work) – Pope John Paul II, 1981

Solicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concern) – Saint Pope John Paul II, 1987

Centesimus Annus (The Hundredth Year) – Saint Pope John Paul II, 1991

Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) – Saint Pope John Paul II, 1995

Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) – Pope Benedict XVI, 2005

Sacramentum Caritatis (Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist) – Pope Benedict XVI, 2007

Caritas in Veritate (In Charity and Truth) – Pope Benedict XVI, 2009

Evangelii Gaudium (Apostolic Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel) – Pope Francis, 2013

Laudato Si (On Care for Our Common Home) – Pope Francis, 2015

Other Papal And Vatican Statements Of Note

Instruction on the Pastoral Care of People Who Migrate – Sacred Congregation for Bishops, 1969

The Church and Peoples on the Move – Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, 1978

Refugees are Neighbors – Saint Pope John Paul II, Message for Lent, 1990

Speech of Saint Pope John Paul II to the General Assembly of the International Catholic Migration Commission,1990

Refugees: A Challenge to Solidarity – Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, 1992

Faith Works Through Charity – Saint Pope John Paul II Message for the 1997 World Day of Migrants.



Related CLINIC Resources

Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Quotes from Pope Francis on Immigration

About CLINIC's Catholic Identity

Guiding Principles of CLINIC's Work



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Center for Immigrant Integration

The Center for Immigrant Integration seeks to encourage the development of immigrant integration initiatives throughout its network through the creation of resources and trainings and through the dissemination of best practices currently present in CLINIC affiliate agencies. CLINIC believes that efforts to promote immigrant integration are most successful at the local level. Participation in integration initiatives is required from both the newcomer and the receiving community, as integration takes place at Catholic Charities agencies as well as in the parish halls, in parks and city office buildings, in libraries, and in neighborhood schools. The message of welcoming the stranger is never more needed than right now, as legislative debates continue around measures impacting immigrant communities; charitable legal service programs are experiencing more demand than they can serve; and demographics of cities, large and small, are changing to include the nation’s newcomers.


Check back often for new resources, model program highlights, and archived trainings as CLINIC works to assist its network in building welcoming communities around the nation.

“Where migrants and refugees are concerned, the Church and her various agencies ought to avoid offering charitable services alone; they are also called to promote real integration in a society where all are active members and responsible for one another‘s welfare, generously offering a creative contribution and rightfully sharing in the same rights and duties. Emigrants bring with them a sense of trust and hope which has inspired and sustained their search for better opportunities in life.”

- Pope Benedict, Message for 2013 World Day of Migrants and Refugees



Listen as CLINIC’s Executive Director, Jeanne Atkinson, explains why CLINIC views immigrant integration as a priority for the CLINIC network.



For more information on how your program can promote immigrant integration, or to have an integration initiative highlighted on our website, contact Leya Speasmaker, Integration Program Manager, at lspeasmaker@cliniclegal.org or 301-565-4816.

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Information and Resources

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum allowing individuals who came to the U.S. as children and meet certain guidelines to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  A person who is granted DACA receives permission to live and work in the U.S. for two years (may be renewed).  If someone is approved for DACA, s/he may apply for a social security number and in most states, a driver’s license.


Executive Action Updates


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Advocacy Newsletter (Fall 2016)

National Advocacy Issues

Supreme Court denies Administration’s Petition for Rehearing, Leaving Block to DAPA in Place

On October 3, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Administration’s Petition for Rehearing in the United States v. Texas case. Following the Court’s split (4-4) decision issued in June, the Justice Department filed a Petition for Rehearing, asking to reargue the case once a ninth justice is confirmed. The Court’s decisions mean that the preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court in Texas remain in effect and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) remain on hold while the case is returned to the lower court. The Supreme Court remains one justice short following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February.


CLINIC Calls on President to Request Temporary Protected Status for Northern Triangle Countries

On August 24th, CLINIC submitted a letter to President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, requesting the administration extend temporary relief to certain undocumented individuals in order to protect and promote family units. Specifically, CLINIC recommends the administration consider re-designating El Salvador and Honduras for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and designating Guatemala for TPS due to increasingly violent circumstances in those countries. CLINIC also requested the Administration address inconsistencies as to whether a TPS grant constitutes admission by creating a uniform policy for all USCIS district offices. Further, CLINIC also requested the administration expand parole in place to the parents of U.S. citizens over the age of 21 who are already physically present in the United States.


Diapers in Detention Campaign Raises Awareness, Urges ICE to End Family Detention

The Diapers in Detention Campaign was started as a week long campaign from August 20 -September 1 to create public awareness about family detention centers and to urge Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to end family detention while keeping families together. Some of the tactics used in this campaign included sending cards congratulating the birth of a new baby to the ICE Director, holding baby showers at ICE Field Offices, and releasing press statements. The one week campaign turned into a successful month of action attracting attention from the press, creating a social media presence, and impacting at least ten cities throughout the country.

A sampling of local news articles that capture the impact of the campaign:


CLINIC and Affiliates Celebrate Citizenship Day 2016

CLINIC commemorated Citizenship Day by sharing naturalization stories of immigrants in the community, including CLINIC’s own Advocacy Attorney and native Liberian, Christy Williams. Read Christy’s naturalization story.

CLINIC affiliates in the DC metro area, through the New Americans Campaign, partnered with the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s DC Chapter to honor Citizenship Day by hosting a one-day workshop on September 17.  Each workshop offered consultations and filing assistance for lawful permanent residents who are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. The event served over 225 individuals at nine locations in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. CLINIC affiliates hosting workshops included:  Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington Immigration Legal Services; CARECEN; Esperanza Center; and Hogar Immigrant Services. Additionally St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Virginia Beach served as a workshop location. CLINIC staff served as volunteers at several of the workshop sites.


New and Proposed Rules & Policy Guidance

Update on Status of New USCIS Fee Schedule

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Fee Schedule is at the final stage of review with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Click here to see how the rulemaking process works. CLINIC expects the Fee Schedule to be published in winter 2016. CLINIC will continue to monitor the status of the new rule and report updates to affiliates.


Update on Status of Extreme Hardship Policy Guidance

On October 7, 2015, USCIS released draft USCIS policy manual guidance on extreme hardship for public comment. The proposed revisions to the policy manual include much awaited guidance on establishing a qualifying relative, extreme hardship factors, extreme hardship determinations, and discretion. CLINIC submitted its comments to the proposed guidance on November 23, 2015. The final guidance was sent to the OMB for review on July 27, 2016. CLINIC expects the final guidance to be published this fall.


Updates from Key Federal Agencies

USCIS DACA Processing Delays Put a Damper on Program Success

In early August, CLINIC affiliates began reporting notable increases in processing times for DACA cases, particularly renewal applications. CLINIC escalated this issue to USCIS, providing recommendations the agency could take to improve communications regarding the sources and scope of the delays. CLINIC has sent practice alerts to affiliates to share information about the processing delays and to encourage escalation of case examples. CLINIC has now received over 115 cases escalations. Many individuals have reported losing their jobs and driver’s licenses as a result of the processing delays. CLINIC continues in its advocacy in this area, leading efforts with other immigrant advocate groups to submit a comprehensive list of recommendations to USCIS for communicating and addressing the delays as well as protecting applicants from lapses of status the result from processing delays. For more information, please visit our DACA delays resources page here.


In Response to Advocates’ Requests, USCIS Issues New Form I-512L

USCIS has modified the Advance Parole travel document, Form I-512L, Authorization for Parole of an Alien into the United States, which incorporates clearer, simpler language and warning labels for recipients to better comprehend and be aware of important information regarding their travel document. For more information about the changes and related resources, click here.


USCIS Opens New Field Office in Fort Myers

USCIS’ new Field Office in Ft. Myers is now open to the public, with a special Grand Opening celebration scheduled for Oct. 21. The office is located at: 4220 Executive Circle, Suite 1, Fort Myers, FL 33916-7966. The office will serve Charlotte, Collier, De Soto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, and Okeechobee counties. It will also provide services to parts of Highlands, Miami-Dade and Sarasota County. For more information about the office and a full listing of zip codes served, click on this link.


State and Local Issues

State and Local Legislative Updates

In the first six months of 2016, more than 40 states enacted 229 legislation that address a variety of immigration issues including refugee resettlement, professional licenses, sanctuary cities, and federal immigration law enforcement. Tennessee enacted legislation that calls for the state Attorney General to sue the federal government over refugee resettlement activities in the state.  Virginia governor vetoed anti-sanctuary city legislation that called for local jails to comply with ICE detainer requests. For more state legislative updates, see our mid-year report on proposed 2016 state immigration legislation.

At local levels, city governments such as Phoenix, Arizona and Detroit, Michigan, have approved municipal identification programs from undocumented immigrants and other residents. Cincinnati, Ohio is the most recent locality to approve the ID program from immigrants. Little Rock, Arkansas may be next in line. Read more.

On September 6, Advocacy Attorney Christy Williams presented a webinar to review state immigration legislation that were proposed in the first half of 2016 and provided advocacy strategies. Guest speakers Ingrid Delgado of Florida Catholic Conference and Rachel Pollock of Catholic Charities of North East Kansas shared strategies they used to defeat multiple legislation that would have negatively impacted immigrants in their areas. Recordings of the webinar are available online.


We Have Developed New Resources for You

CLINIC recently published several new resources to broaden understanding of critical immigration issues that impact immigrants in the community:

Our Identification for Undocumented Immigrants resource which highlights the different kinds of identification cards used my undocumented immigrants and the benefits they bring to local communities. The Professional License for Undocumented Immigrants backgrounder give details about the importance of extending professional licenses to undocumented immigrants. Our Immigration Detainer resource provides information about the use of ICE detainers in local jails and negative impact they can have on communities

We recently updated our Sanctuary Cities Toolkit with new reports of the financial benefits immigrants bring to local economies and strategies to promote immigrant-friendly policies.

For questions about these and other online resources, please contact us.


Affiliate Advocates Corner

Advocate’s Corner: How to Elevate a Case with the CIS Ombudsman’s Office

The CIS Ombudsman’s Office was created by Congress in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to help individuals and employers who need to resolve a problem with USCIS and to make recommendations to fix systemic problems and improve the quality of services provided by USCIS.

The CIS Ombudsman’s Office assists individuals and employers in resolving problems with USCIS. The Office provides the following services: case assistance; tips and resources; public engagement; and public teleconference series. Click here to find out more about requesting case assistance from the Ombudsman.


State and Local Advocate Spotlight:  Robert Tasman Shares Best Practices in Defeating Anti-Immigrant Legislation

In this edition, Robert M.  Tasman, Executive Director of Louisiana Catholic Conference, shares his advocacy experience and strategies that were helpful in his efforts to successfully defeat proposed anti-sanctuary city legislation which would have negatively impacted major cities like New Orleans and Lafayette. Read Rob’s full blog.

Quarterly Quick Tip #2: Generally, the National Visa Center does not require any original civil documents. Only copies should be submitted.


Sign On Letters

September 30, 2016
CLINIC joined USCCB and eight other faith-based organizations in urging USCIS to swiftly implement the short-term extension of the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Visa Program in the Continuing Resolution signed into law by the President (H.R. 5325) on September 29. Read letter.  Shortly thereafter, USCIS released updated information related to these two programs on its Adjustment of Status Filing Charts from the Visa Bulletin page.


September 14, 2016

CLINIC joined more than 340 immigrant rights, faith-based and civil- and labor-rights organizations to deliver a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson calling for the government to end its use of private prison companies to detain immigrants. Recent reports indicate privately operated detention centers have repeatedly been sites of abuse and mistreatment. Read letter.


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Advocacy Newsletter (Summer 2016)

National Advocacy Issues

On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its tie (4-4) decision in the United States v. Texas litigation.  The Court’s split decision means that the preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court in Texas remains in effect and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) remain on hold while the case is returned to the lower court.

In late May- early June, the CARA Pro Bono Project assisted 21 families who were picked up by DHS in the latest round of enforcement actions targeting Central American women the children. The stories of the 21 families and the due process obstacles they have encountered were captured in a report produced by the CARA project.

Convening 2016

CLINIC held its annual convening in Kansas City, Missouri from May 24-May 26, 2016. More than 400 immigration service providers, advocates, and private attorneys from 43 states including Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. were in attendance. CLINIC provided five tracks for participants: offering training to immigration practitioners to expand their knowledge on specific immigration legal issues, immigration policy and advocacy sessions, and management skill for service-deliver capabilities.


New and Proposed Rules and Policy Guidance

CLINIC’s Comments to the Proposed USCIS Fee Schedule

On June 21, 2016, CLINIC submitted its comments opposing increased fees for certain forms in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fee schedule, which was proposed May 4, 2016. CLINIC’s comments are aimed at strengthening USCIS’ objective of covering the full costs of all immigration services. Here are some of the key points CLINIC addresses in the comment:

  • CLINIC supports maintaining the biometrics services fee at $85
  • CLIINIC supports the proposed three-level fee for the naturalization application (N-400)
  • CLINIC opposes fee increases that are disproportionate to USCIS’s reported completion rate and expected workload volume
  • CLINIC recommends DHS continue to seek appropriations from Congress to help maintain or lower fees associated with naturalization

CLINIC also encouraged affiliates and other stakeholders to review the proposed rule and to submit comments to DHS by July 6, 2016. A link to the proposed rule and CLINIC’s analysis can be found here.


CLINIC’s Comments to Form I-821D

CLINIC submitted comments on Form I-821D to USCIS on April 26, 2016. The form is used to apply for DACA. The comments reflect policy and substantive suggestions to streamline the DACA application process, including those raised by CLINIC affiliates and partners in a survey conducted by CLINIC. Additionally, CLINIC signed on to comments submitted by CIRI’s Advocacy Working Group. USCIS began another, 30-day comment period on May 20th without revising Form I-821D. A total of nine comments were received during both comment periods. CLINIC will continue to monitor and report any updates to Form I-821D, instructions and the DACA process.


CLINIC Comments on Form I-821

CLINIC submitted comments on Form I-821 to USCIS on July 7, 2016. Form I-821 is used to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The comments reflect substantive recommendations to clarify questions presented in the application process. CLINIC will continue to monitor and report any updates to Form I-821, instructions and the TPS process. TPS continues to be an important status to clients served by CLINIC affiliates, as 71% of affiliates who responded to CLINIC’s Annual Affiliate Survey report serving individuals applying for TPS.


Update on Status of New Rule Recognition of Organizations and Accreditation of Non-Attorney Representatives

Currently, the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s (EOIR) proposed rule governing the recognition of organizations and accreditation of non-attorney representatives (R&A) is at the final stage of review with the Office of Management and Budget. Click here to see how the general process works. CLINIC expects the rule to be published by early Fall 2016. CLINIC will continue to monitor the status of the new rule and report updates to affiliates.

EOIR issued the proposed rule in September 2015 and CLINIC submitted its comments on Nov. 17, 2015. The rule proposes to transfer administration of the R&A program within EOIR from the Board to the Office of Legal Access Programs; amend the qualifications for recognition of organizations and accreditation of their representatives; institute administrative procedures to enhance the management of the R&A roster; and update the disciplinary process to make recognized organizations, in addition to accredited representatives, attorneys, and other practitioners, subject to sanctions for conduct that contravenes the public interest. A summary can be found here.


Updates from Key Federal Agencies

National Visa Center’s New Electronic Immigrant Visa Processing Pilot

The National Visa Center (NVC) recently offered a preview of the NVC’s new Online IV Module to CLINIC affiliates. In a special session at Convening, participants had the opportunity preview the pages of the online module, learn how an applicant may establish an account, pay fees, and see how civil documents may be uploaded, tracked and submitted to NVC.

Read More


U.S. Embassy and Consulate Contact List Changes

The State Department has started an initiative to standardize the look and feel of its webpages. The first website to be published using the new format is the U.S. Embassy in Uganda. One new requirement stemming from this update will be the listing of contact information for the consular section up front. Under the new format, contact information is listed in the right hand column with more information in a drop down box. State will be updating websites for all of embassies and consulates in this format. Please contact CLINIC’s advocacy team if you are unable to locate and immediately require contact information for a particular post.


State and Local Issues

State and Local Legislative Updates

With only 12 states in regular session, positive legislative trends related to education and professional licensing have emerged in recent months. North Carolina proposed the Tuition Fairness Act (HB 1081) that would offer in-state tuition rates to students that have either completed three years of high school or obtained high school diploma in the state. Connecticut proposed a bill (SB 147) to assist undocumented students pay for college by allowing them to apply for and receive institutional financial assistance at public universities and colleges. Nebraska recently passed a bill (LB 947) to allow legally present immigrants to obtain professional licenses.

Read More


New Map Resources

Our Sanctuary Cities map pinpoints localities that are sanctuary cities and maps out proposed in 2016 sanctuary cities and immigration enforcement bills. Is your city a Sanctuary City? Find out here.

The Refugee Resettlement map provides state Governors’ statements relating to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their jurisdictions as well as legislative trends involving refugee resettlement in 2016. Click here to see your Governor’s stance on refugee resettlement in your state.

Did we miss your state’s recent action on refugee resettlement or immigration enforcement? Please tell us.


CLINIC’s Annual State and Local Legislative Survey

As we come to a close of the majority of states’ legislative calendars, CLINIC wants to thank you for working to address critical issues that are important to immigrants in our community. We value your opinions and would like your feedback on the advocacy resources we provide. Please complete this short survey and tell us how helpful CLINIC’s resources have been to your work in the 2016 legislative session and suggest ways we can improve them to best serve your needs.

Take the Survey


Affiliate Advocates Corner

In just over a year, Dana Davenport has emerged as a standout immigration advocate in Maryland. Driven pointedly by her faith and her genuine desire to help others, Davenport reflects on the 2016 legislative session, specifically highlighting which strategies worked best and how support from CLINIC led to many successes.

Have you ever had trouble contacting consular posts or the visa office? Learn what you need and get tips. 




Quarterly Quick Tip #1:

The Department of State generally prefers applicants submit IRS transcripts in connection with immigrant visa applications rather than copies of tax returns and Forms W-2.


Sign On Letters

May 16, 2016

CLINIC signed on to a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Rodriguez to note the significant delays in adjudicating petitions for U Nonimmigrant Status. Read letter.

June 30, 2016

CLINIC signed on to a letter to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kerlikowske to express concern regarding a decision to rescind CBP’s 2012 policy restricting officers and agents acting as interpreters for state or local law enforcement agencies. Read letter.

June 9, 2016

In June, CLINIC signed on to a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and President Obama to request that the Administration grant Temporary Protected Status to those in the U.S. who have fled El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and immediately cease detaining and deporting children, families, and individuals from these families seeking protection here. Read letter.

July 6, 2016

CLINIC, as part of the Naturalization Working Group and the New Americans Campaign, signed on to a letter to USCIS on the recent proposal to make changes several immigration and naturalization application fees published in the Federal Register on May 4, 2016. Read letter.

May 9, 2016
CLINIC joined ASSISTA Legal Assistance, the American Immigration Council and other advocate organizations in filing an Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals. The brief was filed in response to the Board’s invitation for interested groups to provide feedback on six issues in connection with the U nonimmigrant visa program and other programs designed to provide immigration protection for survivors of violence. Read brief.

Resources by type: 

Advocacy Newsletter (Spring 2016)

National Advocacy Issues

Leading up to the Supreme Court’s April 18 oral argument in U.S. v. Texas, CLINIC was one of more than 325 immigrant-serving agencies joining an amicus (friend of the court) brief. Selected stories highlighting the benefits of permitting implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA were featured in the brief filed March 8 by CLINIC and civil rights, labor and social service organizations. The brief urged the court to uphold the Obama administration’s executive actions.

In early January, the Department of Homeland Security began targeting for removal Central American families and unaccompanied children who had turned 18. CLINIC engaged in extensive national and local advocacy, with staff from the Advocacy and TLS offices participating in national webinars about the actions. The CLINIC advocacy team conducted webinars for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, and provided advocacy support for communities in Arkansas, California, Ohio and Virginia. DHS continues to target immigrant families and unaccompanied children who have turned 18 while in the United States.

March marked the one year anniversary of the CARA Pro Bono Representation Family Detention Project, which focuses on ending family detention and ensuring representation for immigrant families who are processed through the family detention facilities. Nearly 8,000 families had a CARA volunteer attorney help them start the process of seeking asylum. More than 700 volunteers from all over the country -- lawyers, paralegals, translators, social workers, medical professionals, teachers and more -- put their lives on hold for a week or more and traveled to Texas to help protect families. Combined, they contributed more than $6.75 million in volunteer hours.

Nearly 200 immigration reform advocates from 27 states gathered outside of Washington Feb. 3-5 for the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI)’s second Ready America Conference. The advocates came from 27 states, representing immigration legal service providers, labor unions, community organizers, consulates, philanthropy and social service providers. CLINIC co-chaired the five-track conference, which included a plenary session with USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez and six open forum sessions organized by CIRI’s Advocacy Working Group.


New and Proposed Rules and Policy Guidance

USCIS Guidance on AOS and 245(a) 

On March 10, CLINIC submitted comments on the policy guidance in Volume 7 of the USCIS Policy Manual addressing the general policies and procedures of adjustment of status as well as adjustment under section 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.


Application for Travel Document (Form I-131) 

On March 7, CLINIC submitted comments in response to proposed changes to USCIS Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. The proposals were published in the Federal Register on Jan. 7, 2016. CLINIC’s substantive comments focused on the proposed changes to the form instructions. CLINIC also requested that USCIS review its policies and procedures for DACA applicants seeking Advance Parole.


USCIS Proposal to Eliminate 90-day Adjudication/Interim of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD)

CLINIC submitted comments on Feb. 29 in response to USCIS proposed rule, “Retention of EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers.” This rule was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 31, 2015. CLINIC’s comments opposed eliminating the longstanding requirement that USCIS adjudicate applications for employment authorization within 90 days of filing the application or provide an interim EAD for up to 240 days to certain applicants for immigration benefits.


Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-918)

CLINIC submitted comments on Feb. 29, in response to USCIS proposed changes to Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, Form I-918 and Supplements A and B of Form I-918. The proposals were published in the Federal Register on Jan. 29, 2016. CLINIC supports efforts to broaden and enhance access to the U visa program and offered comments on the proposed changes to the U petition form, supplements and instructions.


Future CLINIC Comment Opportunities

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Form I-821D) – On March 2, USCIS invited public comment on Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. While there are no changes being proposed by USCIS, this is an opportunity to make suggestions and encourage USCIS to initiate changes to the form and instructions.

CLINIC is preparing comments which we will post to our website upon submission.

We want to hear from you! Your experiences with Form I-821D are valuable and help to provide the foundational information that inform our comments. To share your perspectives on Form I-821D and DACA, please complete our brief survey.
Additionally, CLINIC encourages programs with DACA experience to consider submitting their own individual agency comments by the May 2 deadline. Instructions for submitting comments can be found at the Federal Register link and at the eRulemaking Portal.


State and Local Issues

Updates from USCIS Southeast Region

After more than 15 years of lobbying by CLINIC and its affiliates, USCIS has announced plans to open additional field offices in the Southeast. Currently, there are only a couple of USCIS offices in the Southeast: Memphis, Tennessee; Atlanta and Jacksonville, Florida.

These offices are spread far apart and still leave large parts of the Southeast with limited access to USCIS offices. For example, people who live in Nashville must travel more than 200 miles (3.5 hours) to reach the USCIS Field Office in Memphis. For those living in Knoxville, Tennessee, the drive is approximately 400 miles (6 hours). These substantial travel times are costly and disruptive to work and school schedules, particularly for low-income immigrants. Applicants with morning appointments often have to bear the additional cost of a hotel room to ensure they arrive at the Memphis Field Office on time for their appointment.


Legislative Update

With roughly 32 states in session, lawmakers in 17 states have proposed approximately 15 anti-sanctuary city bills and 30 anti-refugee resettlement bills. The State and Local Immigration Law Project has worked with partners in 16 states on these issues. Other legislative trends during this session include bills limiting access to public benefits for mixed status families and bills that would deny state resources to programs that provide social services to vulnerable immigrants. So far, anti-immigrant bills have been defeated in four states – Florida, South Dakota, Iowa and New Hampshire. Legislative sessions have ended in 10 states. However, we are still seeing new or amended legislation from the 34 states that are in session: Arizona, Kansas and Mississippi have amended some of their anti-immigrant bills to strike stiffer provisions. Nevada, North Dakota, Montana and Texas have no regular session this year. Has your state proposed refugee-related legislation? Please contact us.


New Refugee Resettlement Toolkit

To help state and local advocates combat anti-refugee resettlement bills, CLINIC prepared a toolkit with information about the refugee resettlement process. The toolkit provides a step-by-step overview of the resettlement process, the rights and responsibilities of refugees after they have resettled in the U.S. and the benefits refugees are entitled to receive upon resettlement. Additionally, the toolkit offers key talking points to support the resettlement of refugees and tips on community involvement in creating a welcoming environment for refugees.



Sign On Letters

February 18, 2016

CLINIC joined immigrants' rights and legal service agencies to provide DHS with information about critical safeguards and programs that would assist Central American refugees in complying with their immigration court obligations.

February 23, 2016

CLINIC along with other immigrant rights organizations filed an amicus brief to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals explaining how the government failed to comply with the Flores settlement and with Judge Dolly Gee’s August 2015 ruling in the Flores v. Lynch family detention case.

March 14, 2016

On March 14, CLINIC signed on in an amicus brief along with immigration service providers in J.E.F.M., et al. vs. Lynch, a case about the provision of legal representation to unaccompanied immigrant children.

March 25, 2016

CLINIC joined organizations calling for the end of Operation Border Guardian and expressing concern regarding continued enforcement action raids upon Central American families and children.


Coming Attractions

CLINIC Convening

2016! Kansas City! Come join CLINIC at our national convening, in Kansas City May 24-26. Come learn about immigration law developments and immigration advocacy strategies. Some of the advocacy panels will cover responding to recent DHS enforcement actions, case inquiry advocacy, state and local initiatives.


New Advocacy Guide coming soon! 

Resources by type: 

Advocacy Newsletter (Winter 2015)

National Advocacy Issues

From January 2- 4, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted enforcement actions targeting immigrants who arrived to the United States after January 1, 2014, and had final orders of removal. DHS picked up 121 individuals in local communities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. CLINIC responded to these action by writing a a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, condemning the targeting of Central American women and children and urging an end to the practice, putting together a a backgrounder explaining the recent actions and what to do in your community, and, through its partnership with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, help receive stays of deportation from the Board of Immigration Appeals in twelve cases, affecting thirty-three women and children. CLINIC continues to monitor this issue and will appreciate hearing what is occurring in your community.

The Obama Administration appealed the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruling from Texas v. U.S. to the Supreme Court on November 20, 2015. The Supreme Court announced on January 19th, that it will take up the case which will likely be argued in April and decided by the last week in June. While the outcome of the case is pending, CLINIC recommends that qualified legal immigration practitioners continue client screenings to assist those eligible for other immigration benefits. Please see CLINIC’s useful timeline on the President’s Executive Action on Immigration

CLINIC continues to fight against the government’s practice of detaining immigrant mothers and their children. CLINIC, through its work in the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project has been especially active in the national fight to eliminate large scale family detention centers. CLINIC and CARA have been leading advocacy efforts to challenge unlawful asylum, detention, and deportation policies of DHS. Such advocacy activities have included submitting a complaint to the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) regarding inadequate language access for indigenous language speakers and filing a letter to high-level DHS officials about glaring due process violations that have occurred since the court order of October 23rd.


New and Proposed Rules and Policy Guidance

N-400 (Application for Naturalization Form)

On November 11, 2015, CLINIC submitted comments to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in response to its proposals to change the Application for Naturalization Form (N-400) and related documents.


I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)

On December 14, 2015, CLINIC submitted comments to USCIS regarding changes to Form I-130, Form I-130A, and Form I-130 and I-130A Instructions.


Draft “Extreme Hardship” Policy

On November 23, 2015 CLINIC submitted comments to USCIS regarding its proposed guidance interpreting the term “extreme hardship” as it is applied to certain waiver of inadmissibility applications.


Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Recognition and Accreditation Program

More than 20 years have passed since the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) last made substantive change to the rules and procedures governing the BIA Recognition and Accreditation Program (R&A) program. On September 16th, EOIR announced a new set of proposed changes. Recognizing the significance of the proposed extensive changes, CLINIC shared its comments to EOIR publicly so that the scope of the proposed changes is known and our perspectives are understood.


State and Local Issues

New Sanctuary Cities Toolkit

In preparation for the immigration enforcement-heavy 2016 legislative session, we are proud to provide you with a new advocacy toolkit on Sanctuary Cities legislation. The toolkit gives important legal, economic and faith materials and tips for addressing anti-sanctuary cities legislation in your state. Since late December we have seen Anti-Sanctuary city legislation in California, Florida, Kansas, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Wisconsin and have helped two states with statements and testimony. Is your state facing anti-sanctuary city legislation? Contact us.


Survey Results Webinar

In late fall 2015 we sent out a survey to state contacts in an effort to gather data about upcoming legislation and how to better engage. We are happy to report that 21 of the 50 states responded and filled out the survey. On January 22nd, we conducted a webinar reporting the results of our survey, which you can view here.


Advocacy's Strategic Priorities

On November 15th, CLINIC held its Board of Directors meeting in Baltimore. At the meeting the Director of Advocacy presented the 2016 Advocacy priorities for the Board and received Board approval. Key Advocacy priorities for 2016 include:

  • advocating for broad eligibility criteria and consistent implementation of the currently viable forms of relief announced by President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration;
  • highlighting potentially harmful federal and state-level enforcement policies and the need for humane enforcement practices;
  • ending the practice of detaining families,
  • ensuring that released families receive access to legal screening;
  • continued advocacy for the expansion of legal protections for children and families;
  • and assisting state-level advocates to understand and promote legislation to help immigrants and support their integration into our communities.

Read our administrative advocacy priorities.


Sign On Letters

October 13, 2015

CLINIC signed onto a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the Commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services requesting review of possible child welfare-approved licensing of family detention facilities in Dilley and Karnes, Texas. The letter requests review of child welfare principles when considering licensing and urges the Texas authorities to not allow children to remain in the facilities.


November 9, 2015

CLINIC and 63 other organizations asked the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General of the United States to allow asylum seekers to apply for protection from removal. The letter requested the government exercise prosecutorial discretion and outlines specific change recommendations.


November 24, 2015

CLINIC signed onto a letter to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to reconsider his opposition to accepting and resettling Syrian refugees in the state and uphold Maryland’s tradition of welcoming those who flee persecution and death. Read letter.


December 1, 2015

CLINIC signed on to a letter and filed an amicus brief with 223 other civil rights, labor, and social service groups urging the Supreme Court to review Texas v. U.S.


December 31, 2015

On December 31st, CLINIC signed on to a letter opposing DHS’s reported plans to conduct nationwide enforcement actions to round up and deport Central American children and their parents. The letter urges the President to offer greater protection to Central American families fleeing violence.


January 25, 2016

CLINIC requested that the DHS Secretary designate El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for Temporary Protected Status due to dramatically escalating violence in the Northern Triangle.

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The New Americans Campaign

In 2011, CLINIC and seven national organizations received a multi-year and multi-state grant to increase the number of eligible Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) to become U.S. citizens by assisting them with the naturalization process through the development of innovative approaches and technologies and exchanging best practices. 

Through the New Americans Campaign, CLINIC provides funding and technical assistance to seven local affiliate agencies to expand and strengthen their existing services in Brooklyn (NY), Charlotte (NC), Southeast Michigan, North Texas, Houston (TX), Los Angeles (CA), and Miami (FL). These local affiliates receive access to CLINIC’s expertise in naturalization and immigration law, including the immigration and information support line, reduced registration fees for trainings and the Annual Convening, free access to live and recorded webinars, and advocacy support.

To achieve the goal of motivating eligible LPRs to become U.S. citizens and assisting them with the process, each national partner will contribute its organizational strengths to build an integrated program that incorporates:  advocacy; capacity building and training; collaboration among partner organizations, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders; media and communications; direct naturalization services; research; and innovative approaches and technology.

To learn more about NAC’s groundbreaking work to naturalize LPRs around the country, please read “The New Americans Campaign: Helping Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens,” by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

Our Local Partners

Catholic Migration Services of Brooklyn, NY

Catholic Migration Services (CMS) was founded in 1971 as the first Diocesan agency in the U.S. to serve the needs of vulnerable immigrants in Brooklyn and Queens.  CMS staff provides clients with a broad range of immigration legal services that include adjustment of legal status, attainment of U.S. citizenship, representation of asylum seekers, and family reunification assistance.  Linea Laboral, a toll free bilingual workers' rights hotline, is operated by CMS in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate General in New York, the U.S. Department of Labor and the New York State Department of Labor.  Clients come from at least 167 countries and CMS’ multilingual staff provides their services in Albanian, English, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Spanish, and Greek.  

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, Inc.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charlotte (CCDOC) serves 16 counties in Western North Carolina through its main office in Asheville.  CCDOC has an accredited Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Immigration Program that provides high-quality services to over 1,000 low-income immigrants each year.  In 2010, CCDOC assisted with 1,125 immigration cases, including consular processing, family-based petitions, and obtaining lawful permanent residency.  Notably, CCDOC is the site leader for the local Charlotte collaborative.

Centro Multicultural La Familia (Multicultural Family Center)

Centro Multicultural La Familia (CMLF) is a private nonprofit mission-drive organization located in Pontiac, Michigan that offers culturally and linguistically competent services in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, Early Head Start, Great Parents, Integrated Care or Medical Home in partnership with St. Joseph hospital, support and interpretation for pregnant women through its Centro de la Mujer program, and employment support services.  CMLF recently joined the New Americans Campaign in 2013 and is a full member of the Detroit collaborative.

Catholic Charities of Dallas, Inc.

Catholic Charities has a fully accredited BIA Immigration and Legal Services (ILS) program that was established in 1975 to assist the growing immigrant population of North Texas.  ILS attorneys and accredited staff provide services to clients that include family visa petitions, adjustment of status applications, naturalization services, and deportation representation.  Recently, Catholic Charities was awarded a USCIS Citizenship and Integration grant to provide both educational services and direct legal services to citizenship applicants.  Catholic Charities is also the site leader for the local Dallas collaborative, and received a national grant from USCIS to extend direct citizenship services to LPRs living in the Dallas area.

Catholic Charities Diocese of Fort Worth, Inc.

Catholic Charities Diocese of Fort Worth (CCFW) provides legal assistance to individuals who are eligible to apply for immigration benefits.  The agency’s focus is the reunification of families through immigration by offering services that include personal consultation, application assistance, and legal representation for our clients in matters of petition for alien relatives, adjustment of status, consular processes, naturalization, work permits, visa renewal, and other related areas of family-based immigration.  CCFW helps qualified individuals apply for naturalization and certificates of citizenship.  CCFW recently joined the New Americans Campaign in 2013.  While the agency is located in Fort Worth, CCFW is a full partner in the Dallas collaborative.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

The St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance (“Cabrini Center”) became a program of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in 1986.  In 2010, Cabrini Center assisted with filing over 1,000 applications for lawful permanent residents seek naturalization.  Cabrini Center is dedicated to providing high quality, low-cost and pro bono legal services to immigrants and refugees who would otherwise not be able to obtain legal representation.  Its activities include outreach, legal assessment and counseling, citizenship application assistance, legal representation and advocacy.  Cabrini Center is the largest non-profit immigration legal service provider in Houston accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals to represent individuals in immigration legal matters.  Free citizenship workshops are offered each month and staff provides citizenship application assistance

Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Inc.
Since World War II, Catholic Charities of Los Angeles has served newly-arrived immigrants and refugees by assisting them in learning English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) and understanding American social norms, training them for jobs, and helping them to legalize their residency and obtain U.S. citizenship through naturalization.  Catholic Charities has a diverse clientele that have emigrated from Latin America, Southeast Asia, China, Iraq, Iran, Haiti, and Ethiopia.  A recipient of the California Community Foundation grant, Catholic Charities will expand its naturalization services and open immigration services offices in the underserved areas of South Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. 

Catholic Legal Services, Archdiocese of Miami, Inc.

Catholic Legal Services (CCLS) serves a diverse population in the Miami-Dade County that encompasses Downtown Miami, Coral Gables, and Aventura.  Staff members from CLS conduct presentations on naturalization and citizenship at three adult education centers throughout Miami and target immigrants from Haiti, Central America, Venezuela, and Cuba.  CCLS has also joined efforts with the Archdiocese’s Cambia tu Vida initiative by reaching out to local public and private educational institutions, churches, local businesses, and other entities, to offer immigration legal services, completion and submission of USCIS forms, and citizenship classes to eligible lawful permanent residents seeking naturalization.  Notably, CCLS is the site leader for the local Miami collaborative.

Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic

The Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at Florida International University College of Law is a one-semester clinic that intervenes on behalf of vulnerable immigrants of all nationalities in a variety of settings.  Student attorneys represent refugees seeking asylum in the United States as a result of political persecution in their countries of origin; Cuban and Haitian nationals seeking relief under country-specific immigration legislation; immigrant workers who have been victims of wage theft; and other vulnerable populations, such as abused spouses and children, unaccompanied minors, and aliens subject to immigration detention.  Most recently, the Clinic has worked with the New Americans Campaign to provide legal assistance for individuals in south Florida seeking to become U.S. citizens.  The Clinic provides assistance through weekend clinics and individual appointments during the week with student attorneys.  Located in Miami, the Clinic is a member of the Miami collaborative.

Florida Immigrant Coalition

Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) is a statewide immigrant rights organization that advocates for the fair treatment of everyone, and is composed of 30 member organizations and over 100 allies, who are grassroots and community organizations, farm workers, youth, advocates, legal service providers, unions and others.  FLIC’s mission is to amplify the power of immigrant communities to impact the root causes of inequality, defending and protecting basic human rights, including the right to live without fear.

FLIC’s citizenship program, Florida New Americans, aims to provide full integration for Florida's largest immigrant communities, advance immigrant rights, and promote active citizenship among New Americans.  As a part of this program, FLIC has already provided free assistance for more than 1000 legal permanent residents to apply for naturalization. FLIC also assists with Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as well as various immigration benefits through their membership.  Located in Miami, FLIC is a member of the Miami collaborative.  

CLINIC Project Resources

La Ciudadanía: Cambia Tu Vida -  In 2012, CLINIC launched its first professional multimedia campaign known as La Ciudadanía: Cambia Tu Vida (Citizenship: It Changes Your Life).  The initiative, in partnership with Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, strives to motivate the 1.2 million legal permanent residents in Los Angeles to become U.S. citizens through an eclectic package of television, radio, and print public service announcements.  CLINIC also launched the campaign in Spanish and Haitian-Creole in Miami, Florida in April 2013 in partnership with the Archdiocese of Miami, and plans to bring Cambia tu Vida to other New Americans Campaign cities. 

New Americans Campaign - The New Americans Campaign is a groundbreaking national network of legal-service providers, faith-based organizations, businesses, foundations and community leaders that is paving a better road to citizenship.  The NAC is modernizing and streamlining access to naturalization services, so that greater numbers of legally qualified permanent residents take the critical step to becoming American citizens.  The NAC is currently driving a national, nonpartisan citizenship campaign throughout the country, focused on eight major cities with large numbers of citizenship-eligible residents.  The NAC’s national partners include: Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC); Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC); Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC); Immigration Advocates Network (IAN); International Rescue Committee (IRC); National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund; National Immigration Forum; National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) and Pro Bono Net.

Volunteers Helping Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens: The Naturalization Group Application Workshop - This free course educates people about basic naturalization law and the naturalization group application workshop model.  The course takes approximately 40 minutes to an hour to complete. 

How to Plan and Implement a Mega-Workshop - This webinar educates charitable immigration legal staff on the unique differences of planning and implementing a large, "mega" group application workshop for naturalization and deferred action.

Workbook for Planning a Mega Workshop – This curriculum was created by CLINIC staff for the first hands on “mega” group application workshop hosted by Catholic Charities of Los Angeles at the Mid-Valley Regional Branch Library in North Hills, California.

Citizenship for Us: A Handbook on Naturalization & Citizenship 6th Edition - Citizenship for Us is a comprehensive guide to the naturalization process that provides detailed information on citizenship eligibility, requirements, and benefits and a step-by-step explanation of the N-400 (Application for Naturalization).  The guide includes 13 study units on U.S. history and civics, historic photos, timelines, a sample naturalization interview, and a chapter on civic participation.  It is geared for immigrants, community leaders, ESL teachers, and other non-attorneys.

Citizenship and Civic Participation Toolkit - This toolkit contains a number of resources on citizenship and civic participation.

Toolkit for Naturalization Workshops - This toolkit is designed to help charitable immigration programs achieve a successful workshop. The forms and sample documents can be used as is or adapted by local programs for their own needs.

Managing an Immigration Program: Steps for Creating and Increasing Legal Capacity - This manual describes best practices used by many of the country's most experienced nonprofit immigration programs and managers.

Group Application Workshop Model - This webinar aims to promote the effective use of the group application workshop model to expand the availability of charitable legal immigration services, principally for naturalization but also for other purposes, including legalization application processing.

"Mega" Group Application Workshop - This webinar educates charitable immigration legal staff on the unique differences of planning and implementing a large, "mega" group application workshop serving 250 or more people for naturalization, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and future comprehensive immigration reform.

USCIS Guide to Naturalization - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) created this Guide to provide better and more consistent information to people interested in naturalization.

USCIS Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative - USCIS strives to promote awareness of the rights, responsibilities, and importance of obtaining U.S. citizenship, and the free naturalization preparation resources available to LPRs and immigrant-serving organization

The New Americans Campaign

We are proud to be part of The New Americans Campaign, an unprecedented national effort that is paving a better path to citizenship and helping legal residents achieve their dream of becoming American citizens.  We are a nonpartisan network of community leaders and foundations, launching a campaign to modernize the system of naturalization assistance and to help more legal permanent immigrants become U.S. citizens.

Because when new Americans gain the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of citizenship, they also contribute more fully to the vitality of our communities and our democracy as a whole. 

“The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) is proud to be a part of The New Americans Campaign,” said Donald Kerwin, CLINIC’s Acting Executive Director. “Our network of more than 200 community-based legal service providers is strongly committed to expanding high-quality citizenship services. This unique partnership will significantly strengthen the capacity of charitable immigration agencies throughout the nation and will enable hundreds of thousands of lawful permanent residents to take the next step towards full and active membership in our nation.”

Have a Question?

If you have any feedback or questions, please contact Rommel Calderwood at rcalderwood@cliniclegal.org

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All About BIA Recognition & Accreditation

Would you like to know more about how your nonprofit agency and staff can become authorized to provide immigration legal services? Join us for this webinar training on Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) agency recognition and staff accreditation. BIA agency recognition and staff accreditation is the Department of Justice's certification of nonprofit legal immigration programs and their staff. It allows non-attorneys to practice immigration law as authorized representatives. Increasing the number of BIA recognized agencies, locations, and accredited staff will be essential for implementing Comprehensive Immigration Reform and serving the millions of immigrants who will be eligible for relief. During this webinar, we will discuss the requirements for recognition and accreditation; the process for submitting an application; and the latest BIA developments. The presenters are CLINIC Attorney Silvana Arista and CLINIC Field Support Coordinator Laura Burdick.


Click Here to download the Powerpoints for this webinar.


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Recent Developments in State & Local Immigration Enforcement (Aug 2013)

As members of Congress prepare to return to Washington, D.C. from the summer recess, the future of U.S. federal immigration policy remains uncertain.  Families and communities across America continue to advocate for comprehensive reform to fix our broken immigration laws.  Despite the looming uncertainty on a federal level, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: Many of the immigration enforcement actions undertaken by state and local actors attempting to make up for federal inaction are not workable solutions.  This message is coming both from court decisions in legal challenges to state and local immigration enforcement as well as from the states and localities themselves.  Some recent developments are highlighted below.    


4th Circuit Issues Two Decisions Limiting State and Local Role in Immigration Enforcement

 Three Provisions of South Carolina Anti-Immigrant Law Must Remain Blocked

On July 23, 2013 the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held  that three major sections of South Carolina’s 2011 anti-immigrant law, SB 20, must remain blocked.  Among other things, the law made it a felony for someone to harbor or transport an unauthorized immigrant and for unauthorized immigrants to allow themselves to be harbored or transported.  In addition, SB 20 made it a misdemeanor to fail to carry immigration paperwork.  Finally, it made it a state crime to carry false or fraudulent identification documents for the purpose of proving lawful presence in the U.S.  The 4th Circuit found that, because each provision was preempted by federal law, the lower court was correct to prevent them from being enforced.  According to the court, criminalizing individuals who are “attempting to do no more than go to school, go to work, and care for their families” is inconsistent with federal immigration policy and objectives.  Despite this legal victory, the provision of South Carolina’s law that requires local police to check the immigration status of detained individuals they suspect of being in the country without documents has been in force since the U.S. Supreme Court permitted implementation of a similar “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s immigration law (SB 1070) last June.  

 Maryland Sheriffs Cannot Detain or Arrest Solely on Suspicion of Immigration Status Violations

On August 7, 2013, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held  that local and state law enforcement officers may not detain or arrest an individual based solely on a known or suspected civil violation of federal immigration law. This lawsuit was brought by Roxana Santos who was seized and arrested by two Frederick County, Maryland sheriffs based on their discovery that ICE had issued a civil warrant against her.  Neither deputy was authorized to engage in federal immigration law enforcement under a 287(g) agreement  between the Sheriff’s Office and ICE. Citing to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States, the circuit court found that local law enforcement officers do not have the authority to arrest individuals solely based on civil immigration violations. The court reminded us that most immigration violations are civil infractions - not crimes - and that Congress entrusted the authority to make removability decisions to the federal government - not to state or local actors.  As a result, Santos’ unlawful detention by the sheriffs violated her 4th amendment right to be free from unreasonable search or seizure.  


New Orleans and Newark Join Growing List of Cities to Limit Compliance with ICE Detainer Requests

Localities across the country continue to adopt policies or ordinances restricting the extent to which local law enforcement may cooperate with ICE by honoring immigration detainers.  ICE detainers are requests that a local law enforcement agency continue to hold an individual in criminal custody for up to 48 hours beyond when he or she would otherwise be released so that ICE can assume custody.  The Sheriff of Orleans Parish announced  on August 14, 2013, that his office would only comply with such requests from ICE when they involved individuals charged with specific violent felonies.  The Sheriff’s Office also stated that it will no longer initiate investigations into the immigration status of individuals in its custody.  This policy is “one of the farthest-reaching of its kind in the country.”   The new guidance followed a unanimous New Orleans City Council resolution  urging the Sheriff to stop honoring ICE detainers entirely.  It is also part of a settlement agreement in a federal lawsuit filed by two immigrant workers who were held unconstitutionally on the basis of ICE detainers for 90 and 160 days beyond the conclusion of their criminal sentences.  New Orleans is the first locality in the Southern U.S. to implement an anti-detainer policy.  Other jurisdictions with similar policies include San Miguel and Taos counties in New Mexico; San Francisco and Santa Clara counties in California; Cook and Champaign counties in Illinois; Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; Multnomah County, Oregon; and the cities of Washington, D.C., Chicago, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and New York.  

Newark, New Jersey also recently announced  that it will cease complying with ICE requests to hold suspects accused of minor crimes such as shoplifting or vandalism.  Advocates for the new policy directive, signed by Newark’s Police Director on July 24, 2013, included the Newark Archdiocese Department of Social Concerns and several Newark churches.  Reverend Karl Esker of St. James Church acknowledged the role of local law enforcement in “funnel[ing] immigrants into the detention and deportation dragnet through problematic information-sharing initiatives that devastate the stability of communities.” He commended  the Newark Police Director for his leadership on this issue and called the policy “absolutely essential in a city…. [w]here trust between local law enforcement and the community is crucial to protecting public safety.”    


ICE Declines to Sign Immigration Enforcement Partnership Agreement with Knox County, Tennessee

In contrast to local law enforcement leaders in New Orleans and Newark, the Sheriff of Knox County, Tennessee would like to enhance his agency’s role in federal immigration enforcement.  The Sheriff had expressed interest in entering into a partnership with ICE under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  The 287(g) program allows certain local law enforcement officers, following training from ICE, to be deputized to enforce federal immigration law in their local jurisdictions. ICE currently maintains 287(g) agreements  with 36 law enforcement agencies in 19 states, has trained more than 1,300 local law enforcement officers, and credits the program with identifying more than 309,283 potentially removable aliens since January 2006.  Following several weeks of negotiations, ICE ultimately declined to enter into a 287(g) partnership with Knox County.  The Sheriff posted the following response  on his agency’s website: “I will continue to enforce these federal immigration violations with or without the help of [ICE]. If need be, I will stack these violators like cordwood in the Knox County Jail until the appropriate federal agency responds.”  

This controversial statement by the Knox County Sheriff illustrates the diverse views on the precise role that local law enforcement can and should play in identifying unauthorized immigrants and effectuating their removal under federal immigration laws. For many, last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down

Arizona’s infamous immigration law made it clear that immigration enforcement is the purview of the federal government, not state legislatures or local police.  Yet, there are local law enforcement officers, state legislators, and members of Congress who clearly disagree.  


Federal Enforcement-Only Bill Would Compel States to Enforce Immigration Laws

This June, the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act (H.R. 2237), an enforcement-only bill that would essentially overturn the Arizona v. United States decision by empowering - in instances even mandating - states and localities to act as immigration agents and criminalize immigration violations. Concerns include further exacerbating strained state and local resources, compromising community safety, and increasing the risks of discrimination and racial profiling.  A number of local and state law enforcement officials and departments have opposed further delegation of immigration enforcement to local police.  According to Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor in Tucson, Arizona, “Law enforcement officers have taken an oath to protect all those who live within our communities, regardless of race, culture, or nation of birth.  We don’t need short-sighted laws that tie our hands and prevent us from establishing the trust we need to protect the communities we serve.”  For a summary of the SAFE Act, click here .


This document was prepared in August 2013 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (301) 565-4807.

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Overview of State Resolutions in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Overview of State Resolutions in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

     The climate in the states on immigration has changed noticeably over the past few years. After comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) failed to pass in 2007, states began enacting a patchwork of their own immigration measures. Arizona’s 2010 sweeping anti-immigrant law, for example, was followed by a series of copycat laws in other states as legislators focused on enforcement and making life for immigrants as difficult as possible. While state immigration enforcement bills continued to be introduced in 2012 and 2013, most lacked the traction to pass. 2013 has witnessed a marked shift towards pro-immigrant legislation as numerous states have passed laws to extend driving privileges and in-state tuition rates to the undocumented population. In addition, states have been sending the clear message to Congress that our broken immigration system needs comprehensive federal reform.


Click Here for the Full Overview (PDF)

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Latest Developments in State and Local Immigration Enforcement (Jul 2013)


On May 31, Connecticut’s State Legislature unanimously passed the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools (TRUST) Act, the country’s first state anti-detainer law designed to limit participation in the federal/state immigration enforcement partnership known as Secure Communities. Under Secure Communities, fingerprints taken by local police when booking an individual charged with a state or local crime are checked against federal immigration databases to see whether that individual might be removable from the U.S. If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reason to believe that the arrested individual may be removable, it can issue an immigration detainer requesting thatthe local law enforcement agency continue to hold that individual for up to 48 hours to give ICE a chance to place the person into immigration custody.  Secure Communities has resulted in the deportation of more than 272,000 immigrants, including many with no criminal history or who have only been charged with minor traffic offenses.   Connecticut’s TRUST Act limits the circumstances under which state and local police will hold immigrants for possible deportation by ICE.  The act permits state and local law enforcement to honor immigration detainers only when the requested individual has a felony conviction, is on a terrorist watch list, is a known member of a violent gang, already has an outstanding order of removal or deportation, or presents an unacceptable risk to public safety.  The bill is awaiting signature by the Governor of Connecticut and would go into effect on January 1, 2014.     



On May 16, 2013, the California State Assembly passed a similar bill also called the TRUST Act (AB 4).  The bill would permit local or state law enforcement officials to continue to hold an individual under an ICE immigration detainer only if the individual has been convicted of a serious or violent felony and his or her continued detention would not violate any federal, state, or local law or policy. The bill has moved to the State Senate where it awaits further discussion by the Public Safety Committee which will hold its next hearing on July 2, 2013. A version of California’s TRUST Act was passed by both houses in 2012 but vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown. Over 96,800 Californians have been deported as a result of the Secure Communities program -- more deportations than from any other state.  Last December, California’s Attorney General instructed local law enforcement that participation in Secure Communities was optional given that the program increased distrust of police among immigrant communities and targeted non-criminal immigrants. California taxpayers spend an estimated $65 million each year detaining immigrants for ICE.  According to the TRUST Act’s sponsor and author, Assembly member Tom Ammiano, “Immigrants want to live in safe communities but when trivial issues such as selling tamales without a permit or having barking dogs…can turn into extended detention and deportation, confidence and trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities is eroded…It doesn’t make sense to deport an undocumented Californian today who could be on the road to citizenship tomorrow.”  



 On April 26, 2013, Colorado’s governor signed into law the Community and Law Enforcement Trust Act (HB 1258) which repealed a 2006 law (SB 90) requiring police to report to ICE those individuals in police custody who were suspected of being in the U.S. without authorization.  SB 90 had been blamed for inspiring the passage of Arizona’s SB 1070 and other state immigration enforcement laws.  According to the Colorado legislature, this new law will promote public safety by allowing police to build trust with immigrant communities – trust that SB 90 substantially undermined by creating fear of deportation among immigrant witnesses and victims who would otherwise have reported crimes.  Colorado law enforcement and public safety officials assert that community trust is essential for effective local policing and that this law will ensure equal protection and safety for all Coloradans including witnesses and victims of crime.  According to various local law enforcement agencies in Colorado, their time and resources are better spent protecting the public, as opposed to enforcing federal immigration laws.  The enactment of the Community and Law Enforcement Trust Act makes Colorado the first state in the country to repeal a “show me your papers" provision similar to those that are still in effect in Arizona (SB 1070), Alabama (HB 56), Georgia (HB 87), and South Carolina (SB 20).


North Carolina

 On April 10, 2013, North Carolina legislators introduced HB 786, the Reasonable Enactment of Comprehensive Legislation Addressing Immigration Matters (RECLAIM) Act.  The bill contains a provision similar to the “show me your papers” section of Arizona’s anti-immigration law SB 1070. The RECLAIM Act permits local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of any individual they stop, detain, or arrest and who they have reasonable suspicion to believe is unlawfully present in the U.S.  This raises serious concerns about racial profiling by North Carolina law enforcement agents who lack immigration law training and might consider appearance or ethnicity in making such a determination.  The bill also requires undocumented drivers to obtain driving permits that would be marked to distinguish them from the driver’s licenses issued to other state residents. It also permits the police to immediately seize and sell the cars of individuals driving without a driver’s permit or car insurance, and requires the state to charge any undocumented immigrant in criminal custody for the costs of his or her incarceration.  The bill is currently under consideration by the House Finance Committee.  An estimated 325,000  undocumented immigrants reside in North Carolina and foreign-born workers comprise 9.9% of the state’s workforce.          



 On May 24, 2013, a U.S. federal court found that Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) engaged in a pattern of racial profiling against Hispanic drivers and passengers.  According to the decision, the MCSO used traffic stops as an excuse to identify and report individuals who are in the country without authorization and considered an individual’s Latino identity as a factor in determining whether to investigate that person’s immigration status.  The federal district court determined that Arpaio’s immigration enforcement policies and practices violate the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment (protection against unreasonable searches and seizures) and Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Arizona Constitution.  Accordingly, the MCSO was ordered to stop using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in stopping vehicles or making law enforcement decisions related to whether an individual may be in the country without authorization.  The court is overseeing negotiations between the MCSO, the plaintiffs, and the Department of Justice (who filed a separate discrimination lawsuit  against the MSCO) to determine what

specific steps the MCSO needs to take to ensure compliance with the court’s order. The next hearing will be August 30, 2013. Hopefully, this ruling will serve as a deterrent, not only for Sheriff Arpaio, but for other local and state law enforcement agencies who are overstepping the bounds of their authority in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.  

Updated Resource for Community Advocates Concerned With ICE Partnerships with Local Law Enforcement 

 CLINIC has updated its tool kit that provides an overview of ICE partnerships with local law enforcement agencies including the Criminal Alien Program, the Secure Communities Program, and the 287(g) Program. The toolkit also recommends strategies for communities to advocate against the implementation and continuation of these programs.


This document was prepared in July 2013 by CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle. This document is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact Jen Riddle at jriddle@cliniclegal.org or (202) 635-7410.

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Templates for CIR Fundraising

Back to CLINIC's CIR Resource Page


Proposal Narrative - This document is designed to provide you with a template that can be used when applying for immigration funding, specifically in preparing your local community for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).  It outlines the Need and Approach to position your agency as the lead in preparing your community for CIR.  Objectives and outcomes are included along with guidelines for an organizational capability statement.  The appendix contains useful resources.

Work Plan - This is an Excel sheet that details the activities and a timeline associated with the objectives in the proposal narrative.

Budget Narrative -  Set up as a Word document, this narrative details the personnel and non-personnel costs to consider as you develop your plan and write your proposal.

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Citizenship for Elders: Issues and Options in Test Preparation, 2nd Edition (2012)

Citizenship for Elders is a unique handbook for teachers and administrators on creating and managing a citizenship program for the older learner.  This handbook brings together the observations and insights of teachers from across the country on older learners from a wide range of cultures.  It is based on a nationwide survey of 200 programs.  It identifies the issues in teaching elders and makes recommendations for instruction and program design.  The recommendations are practice-based, with a focus on innovative and promising practices.  The suggestions on learning activities, cultural considerations for the classroom, and strategies to address common health issues will be particularly helpful to teachers.  CLINIC hopes this free handbook will help service providers strengthen their programs and assist many more elders to secure their future in the U.S. by becoming citizens.<--break->


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Immigration Case Management Tools

A good case management database contains both immigration forms and client-specific information.  The database may be software for stand-alone or networked computers or it may be web-based with the server off-site.  Either way, the choice and utilization of a database is an important investment for your immigration program.  In addition to completing forms, the database helps staff manage the caseload and facilitates the writing of data-rich reports and funding proposals.  Many of the benefits of a database are noted in the “Benefits of Case Management Software” article below.  After creating your policies and procedures manual, you will better know what functions you need or want from a case management database.  The prices and functions of case management databases vary, so you need to research products on the market by talking to the service representative for each vendor and to users of the vendor’s products.  

Immigration Case Management Providers

The information is provided merely as a starting point for readers to research immigration case management solutions. Increasingly, web-based systems are ne cessary for filing applications to the federal government.  Among all case management systems, choosing a vendor that provides responsive technical assistance is important in addition to function and cost.  As such, CLINIC exclusively recommends LawLogix as your best choice.


On February 14, 2012 CLINIC and LawLogix announced an exclusive agreement to provide CLINIC affiliates with added benefits for using LawLogix.  These benefits include special pricing discounts, custom user trainings, and private certification programs designed to promote best practices for immigration case management.  To see a demonstration of LawLogix, visit http://go.lawlogix.com/Demo_Request.html

More info

For more information on the CLINIC and LawLogix exclusive agreement, click here or contact LawLogix directly at:

http://www.lawlogix.com (877-725-4355 ext. 1) or sales@lawlogix.com

EImmigration by Cerenade
http://www.cerenade.com/eimmigration (800)-617-4202 or sales@cerenade.com

ILSForms by Immigration Law Systems, Inc.
http://www.ILSSYS.com (614) 252-3078 or Support@ilssys.com

ImmForms Plus 5.8 (CD-ROM)
http://store.westlaw.com/immforms-plus-5-8/182986/14396936/productdetail   (800) 344-5008
You can also ask about the separate “Immigration Practitioner” package, which is a package of legal research programs.

Immigration Aide (now has a Windows-based program)
http://www.immigrationaide.com (410) 444-3704

INS Zoom.com U.S. Immigration Management System (usIMS)
http://www.inszoom.com (925) 244-0600 or info@inszoom.com

LegalServer by PS Technologies, Inc.
http://legalserver.org (773)-782-1021 ext. 107 or ivashton@psti.net

LexisNexis Immigration Law Interactive Drafting System (IDS)
800) 833-9844

Tracker by Tracker Corp
http://trackercorp.com/immigration-software.php (888)-411-TRKR or sales@trackercorp.com


Immigration Case Management Forms 

Case management forms are essential in immigration practice.  You cannot practice or practice very well without them. Below is a list of commonly used forms by practitioners.   This is not an exhaustive list, but a list to help you think what forms you need for your immigration program.   Each form contains a sample primarily to educate you about the forms’ purpose and content.  We highly encourage you to review the sample forms as educational pieces and to create your own forms that best suit your immigration program.   .

Along with sample forms, review the Case Management Forms Content Checklist.  This checklist  provides suggestions of   information you may want to include in your forms.  You can access this document by clicking on the link above.

For sample forms, please click on the links below.

  • Preliminary Screening Form helps staff quickly identify what kind of assistance an individual requires and whether your immigration program provides such services.  The contents of the form may include the individual’s name and contact information, immigration benefit sought, and language preference.   The form is also useful for capturing data on how many people are coming to your office seeking services, even if their inquiries do not result in an intake. This data can shape your referral list and be useful in planning for future expansion of program services.
  • Intake Form  gathers an individual’s personal information, family information and immigration history to determine their eligibility for an immigration benefit. It is also used during the case selection process to decide if the case will be accepted by the agency.   For VAWA clients, the intake form can serve to identify other social services needed by the client to ensure their safety and well-being.  SeeVAWA Intake Form.
  • Fee Waiver Forms

o Fee Waiver Policy  is used to inform staff and potential clients of the procedure for requesting a fee waiver for an immigration service at your organization.  It is a best practice for fee waiver determinations to be made by someone other than the staff member who will be responsible for working on the case.  Separating the financial and substantive aspects of the case can reduce unnecessary tension or stress from the client/representative relationship.
o Income Reporting Sheet  helps staff determine at intake whether a potential client is eligible for a fee waiver under the terms of your organization’s policy.  
o Fee Waiver Form  is used for staff to document when a fee waiver is granted in a particular case.  The amount to be waived is noted and the form is signed by the client, staff and a supervisor, before being placed in the client’s file.
o Combination Fee Waiver Policy and Request Form  is used to both explain the fee waiver policy and be used to document the organization’s decision on the fee waiver request.

  • Retainer Agreement (also known as Client Agreement or Engagement Letter) formalizes the relationship between the client(s) and the representing agency.  It spells out the type and scope of services provided by the agency, the fees assigned to each service, and the rights and responsibilities of both the client(s) and the agency.  It is worth the time to develop a good retainer agreement.  A well written and thought out retainer agreement can help an agency prevent or minimize future conflicts and liabilities.  Even if your immigration services are free because your program is funded by a grant or by other sources, you still need a retainer agreement.  Providing free services does not absolve your agency from future conflicts and liabilities.  Your agency is still accountable to the client for anything related to their case.  Take the time to complete the retainer agreement and verbally communicate the details of the retainer agreement to your client to ensure they understand it.   If English is not your client’s first language make sure the agreement is translated to their native language or is interpreted to them before they sign it.

o New sample: English/Spanish sample provided by Catholic Charities of Arlington (Hogar).

  • Non-Engagement Letter  informs the individual that your agency will not be accepting their case. The letter may include the reasons as well as referrals to other immigration practitioners.  Often times, individuals assume you are taking their case just because you conducted an intake or provided a consultation.  When you inform them in writing that you are not pursuing their case further, it prevents confusion or misunderstanding.  It also protects your agency from any future disputes or conflicts. 
  • Case Notes creates a record of the work that has been performed on the immigration case.  Staff should keep detailed but concise case notes of what has been done in the case and when it was done, along with their initials or names next to each entry, so that work by more than one legal representative on the same case can be handled more efficiently without errors and mistakes.  (Case notes, like other forms, should be approached as if it is your last day of employment and someone else, yet to be determined, will be responsible for your cases.)
  • Case Transfer Memo reassigns cases due to staff turnover or redistribution of caseload.  The memo summarizes the case history, including client information and actions taken on the case, status of the case, and next steps.  It takes information contained in various documents in the case file and compiles it into a cohesive memo.   This memo increases staff efficiency and ensures services are not interrupted during a period of transition.
  • Case File Review Checklist guides staff on where to place specific documents in a client’s file.  Case files should include copies of all client documents, applications, and work products created on behalf of the client.  It needs to be organized in a standardized method.  Supervisors or other designated individuals need to review the case file periodically to ensure the case file contains all key documents and the documents are placed in a pre-determined manner according to the case file construction policy.
  • Technical Review Checklist provides the reviewer a tool to assess the accuracy and quality of the immigration application before it is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or Immigration Court. It standardizes the review process to ensure there is uniformity and consistency.   The review takes the form of both legal technical review and editing. Program directors often use the review process to evaluate the quality of their staff’s legal representation and case file management.horization by the client to release his/her information to third parties.  It protects client information from unauthorized disclosure and ensures that the staff maintains client confidentiality.
  • Consent to Release Form is an authorization by the client to release his/her information to third parties.  It protects client information from unauthorized disclosure and ensures that the staff maintains client confidentiality.  
  • Case Removal Sheet keeps track of whohas the case file when it is not in the central filing cabinet.  This is common sense, but may be easily overlooked. Since all case files need to be kept in a locked filing cabinet, it jeopardizes client confidentiality if staff members leave the case files lying around in their office or cubicle when they are not working on them.  The case files belong to the agency, not the staff member.  Thus, the agency’s program director needs to know the whereabouts of all case files if staff is absent, whether planned or due to an emergency, or in the event of case transfers.
  • Case Closing Memo is similar in purpose and content to the Case Transfer Memo in that it facilitates information sharing among staff in the event of case transfers or possible re-opening of a case when an individual qualifies for another immigration benefit.  Information contained in the memo includes summaries of client case background and procedural history, case status, case outcome, and next steps, if any.
  • Client Satisfaction Survey/Feedback helps to assess the quality of services provided to clients for future program improvements and development.  It also helps program managers and directors gather positive program outcomes and quotes for reports to agency leadership or funding proposals.  It is also a great marketing vehicle when used properly and produces another mechanism for evaluating staff performance and commending good performance.
  • Closing Letter to Client helps to formally conclude the relationship between the client and representing agency. Closing letters are generated when:   services have been completed as stated in the retainer agreement; the client has failed to uphold the responsibilities in the agreement; or the agency is no longer able or authorized to represent the client further.  When successfully representing a client in an immigration application, the case is not closed until the client receives the ultimate immigration benefit, not just an approval letter from USCIS or the Immigration Court.  For instance, in an application for Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR), the case should not be closed until the client has the LPR card (commonly referred as the green card) in his/her possession.  Similarly, in a citizenship application, the case is not closed until the client attends the oath ceremony and receives the Naturalization Certificate.  This ensures that the agency fulfills the scope of service listed in the retainer agreement. Once you are certain that the client has received their immigration benefit, you should send them a letter to: congratulate them; notify them that their case will be closed; inform them about the agency’s case retention policy; instruct them on how to access a copy of their case file contents; and inform them of next steps, if any, in their immigration process, including the possibility of helping family members immigrate to the U.S.   You should be sure to include this last point since it solicits an opportunity to serve the client again.

o New Sample: packet of immigration-benefit-specific closing letters provided by Catholic Charities of Arlington (Hogar).

  • Confidentiality Agreement is used for staff, volunteers, and any other individual working on the client case files.  Prior to joining the immigration program, all staff, volunteers, and other individuals with access to case files should be aware of the agency’s confidentiality policy, their responsibilities in upholding it, and the consequences of a breach in confidentiality.   A confidentiality policy should be signed to reinforce the seriousness of the policy and its ethical requirements.   It is also a good idea to reinforce the policy by having an in-house training on confidentiality for new staff (including volunteers) before they begin working on cases and by having trainings on a regular basis to reinforce the policy for existing staff, volunteers, and others involved with client casework.


  • Client Grievance Policy and Forms

o Client Grievance Procedure clearly outlines the options for a person to pursue a grievance about the manner or quality of assistance rendered by the program, or denial of services, or about alleged violations of state or federal laws, regulations, or the Clients' Bill of rights.
o Service Recipient Rights and Responsibilities ensures that the client is informed of both the organization’s duty to provide professional and compassionate service and her own duty to participate and assist in the representation.
o Acknowledgement of Receipt of Service Recipient Rights and Responsibilities is signed by the client and placed in the case file to document that the client was advised of her rights and responsibilities.
o Grievance Policy instructs staff to adhere to the Client Grievance Procedure. The goal is to ensure that each client is aware of the process for voicing a complaint or grievance against the organization and that their grievance will be addressed in a just and timely manner.
o Client Grievance Form #1 provides the person with an opportunity to explain the nature of the grievance and for the organization to document what action was taken as a response.
o Client Grievance Form #2 provides another sample for a client to pursue a grievance.

  • Moonlighting Policy specifically prohibits attorney staff from taking on immigration cases outside the agency.  This prevents possible conflicts of interest with the attorney’s work for the agency. It also protects agency staff from stress and burnout.

o   New sample: English/Spanish sample provided by Catholic Charities of Arlington (Hogar).[MG1] 

 [MG1]New link

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Developing Case Management Policies and Procedures

When you are thinking of developing or changing your case management system, solicit your immigration staff to get their feedback, or even better is if they participate in the development or revision of that process.    The system works only if it makes sense to those who have to adhere to, carry out, and manage it.  Once you determined your case management system, document it in a policies and procedures manual.   The rationale behind having a case management policies and procedures manual is the same as having an operating and human resources manual in your agency.  You want to document the information so there is  uniformity, accountability, consistency, and high quality of work among staff.  .  Even if you are a small immigration program with one staff member or provide limited immigration services such as VAWA, you still need a case management policies and procedures manual.  Every agency has staff turnover.  The manual is especially useful during agency transitions to ensure there is no interruption of services and the quality of work provided to clients is maintained.

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Template for Applying for Immigration Funding

The documents below are designed to provide you with a template that can be used when applying for immigration funding, specifically in preparing your local community for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).  It can also be adapted for other immigration-related funding prior to CIR.

This template has several sections. It outlines the Need and Approach to positioning your agency as the lead in preparing your community for CIR. Objectives and outcomes are included.  A separate Excel sheet Workplan details activities and a timeline associated with the objectives.  Guidelines are also provided for an organizational capability statement. The attachments contain resources that you may find useful.

*To better understand, other programmatic needs and changes related to Comprehensive Immigration Reform, please review CLINIC's publication Preparing for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: An Earned Pathway to Citizenship and Beyond.
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Family Safety Planning Training Manual

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has dramatically stepped up enforcement in the interior of the country. DHS agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Division are arresting immigrants at their homes, workplaces and on the streets in communities all across the country.

The numbers of immigrants arrested in ICE enforcement operations is staggering. For example, 4,077 workers were swept up in workplace raids and charged with administrative violations in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007. Already this year (through August 2008), roughly 3,900 workers have been arrested and more than 1,000 individuals have been criminally charged. Also, ICE’s Criminal Alien Program (CAP) initiated formal removal proceedings against 164,000 immigrants serving prison terms in FY 2007. This number is expected to grow throughout FY 2008 and FY 2009. Additionally, ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams arrested over 30,000 individuals in FY 2007, double the number in FY 2006. These numbers also are expected to be higher in 2008 and 2009 as ICE added 29 new Fugitive Operations Teams to its existing 75 teams in September of 2008.

Given this enforcement environment, it is important for members of our communities to develop a family safety plan if they are at risk of arrest and detention. This training curriculum is designed for trainers that will present Family Safety Planning Training in their communities. Through this training, participants will learn about the issues that they need to think through as well as the paperwork and documents that they need to gather in order to help themselves and their family members.

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Catholic Social Teaching and Migration Presentation

This presentation, which was first given in July 2008, gives an overview of Catholic social teaching on migration. Topics include:

  • Who is my neighbor? How can I be a neighbor?;
  • Principles of Catholic social teaching;
  • The dignity of the person and respect for life;
  • Community and the common good;
  • God-given rights and responsibilities;
  • Preferential option (decision) for the poor;
  • Dignity of work;
  • Solidarity and the human family;
  • Care for God's creation;
  • And much more.
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Translations of Citizenship Test Questions

Translations of the U.S. History/Government Test Questions

The translations listed here were completed by USCIS and community organizations throughout the country. For translations completed by community organizations, the organization's contact information is included on the translation.

***Please note that some information, such as the name of the President and Speaker of the House, changes regularly and may not be up to date. Other information, such as the name of the applicant’s Senator and Governor, will vary depending on where the applicant lives. 

Translations done by USCIS


Translations done by community organizations 


CLINIC Study Guide for the Citizenship Test


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Facts for Documented and Undocumented Workers Helping to Clean-up and Rebuild the Gulf Coast Region


All workers, including documented and undocumented immigrant workers, are protected by many U.S. employment and labor laws. Rights that may apply to workers depending upon the circumstances include:

Right to be paid. In most instances, workers have the right to be paid minimum wage ($5.15 an hour) and to receive overtime pay for work over 40 hours a week. If workers do not receive all of the wages for the time they actually worked, they can take action to recover those wages.

Right to be free of discrimination. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against or harass workers based on race, color, religion, age, disability, national origin or sex.
Right to organize. In most workplaces, it is illegal for an employer to punish or threaten workers for organizing with others to improve their working conditions.

Right to be safe on the job. Workers are protected by workplace health and safety laws at their worksites.

Right to benefits if injured on the job. In most states, workers who are injured on the job are entitled to the protections of state workers’ compensation laws.

Right to unemployment payments. In most states workers who are fully or partially unemployed, looking for work, and have valid work documentation are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.


Additional information for documented and undocumented workers helping to clean-up and rebuild the Gulf Coast region attached below.

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Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN): Practical Guidelines for Individuals

What is an ITIN?

ITIN stands for Individual Tax Identification Number. It is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who do not qualify for a Social Security Number (SSN). The ITIN always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit. For example: 9XX-7X-XXXX.

An ITIN permits individuals without a valid Social Security Number (SSN) to:

  • Pay taxes (report their annual earnings to the IRS)
  • Open an interest-bearing bank account.

Can an ITIN be used for work purposes?
No. An ITIN cannot be used to show work authorization. The purpose of the ITIN is to assist individuals without a SSN to pay their taxes and/or open an interest-bearing bank account. Note: ITINs do not entitle the recipient to Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Who needs an ITIN?

  • Individuals that earn income in the U.S. and must file a U.S. tax return but do not have a SSN. (According to U.S. law, unless your income is exceedingly low, you are legally required to file an income tax return.)
  • Spouses and dependents that are listed on a U.S. tax return but do not have a SSN. (Spouses and dependents must fill-out separate Forms W-7 and submit them together with the principal taxpayer.)
  • Individuals that would like to open an interest-bearing bank account but do not have a SSN.

Does the use of an ITIN indicate that the applicant is undocumented?
No. The ITIN is available to a range of foreign-born persons that are not eligible for SSNs. The IRS has stated repeatedly that an ITIN does not create an inference about an individual’s immigration status.

How does an individual apply for an ITIN?
Individuals must complete IRS Form W-7, “Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer
Identification Number.” This Form may be obtained from any IRS office, U.S. consular office aboard, or any Acceptance Agent. It also is available on-line at www.irs.gov, or by calling 1-800-TAX FORM. Form W-7 is available in both English and Spanish.


More information in the attachments below.



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Statements of Pope Benedict XVI Regarding Immigration

Words from His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, Regarding Immigration
During His Apostolic Journey to the United States
April 15-20 2008

Interview with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, during his flight to America, Tuesday, 15 April 2008
(Question from Andrés Leonardo Beltramo Álvarez): 

“Your Holiness…There is an enormous growth in Hispanic presence also in the Church in the United States in general: The Catholic community is becoming ever more bilingual and ever more bicultural.  At the same time, there exists in the society an increasing anti-immigration movement.  The situation of the immigrants is characterized by unstable situations and discrimination.  Do you intend to speak of this problem and to invite America to welcome immigrants, many of whom are Catholic?”

(Response from Pope Benedict XVI):  
“…I certainly will touch on this point.  I have received various "ad limina" visits from the Central American bishops and also from South America, and I have seen the amplitude of this problem, above all the grave problem of the separation of families.  And this is truly dangerous for the social, moral and human fabric of these countries. Nevertheless, one must differentiate between measures that must be adopted right away and long-term solutions.

The fundamental solution is that there would no longer exist the need to emigrate because there would be in one's own country sufficient work, a sufficient social fabric, such that no one has to emigrate.  Therefore we should all work for this objective, for a social development that permits offering citizens work and a future in their land of origin.  And also about this point, I would like to speak with the President, because above all the United States should help with the aim that these countries can develop in this way.  This is in the interest of everyone, not just of these countries, but of the world, and also of the United States.

Besides this, short-term measures: It is very important to help the families above all.  In the light of the conversations that I have had with the bishops, the principal problem is that there be protection for the families, that they not be destroyed.  What can be done should be done.  In the same way, naturally, all that is possible must be done to work against the instability of the situations and against all the violations, and to help so that they can have a truly dignified life where they find themselves in this moment.

I would like to also say that there are many problems, many sufferings, but there is also a lot of hospitality!  I know that above all the American episcopal conference collaborates a lot with the Latin American episcopal conferences in the face of needed help.  With all the sorrowful things, let's not forget also so much true humanity, so many positive actions that also exist.”

Final Holy See – US Joint Statement, Oval Office, Wednesday, 16 April 2008

“The Holy Father and the President also considered the situation in Latin America with reference, among other matters, to immigrants, and the need for a coordinated policy regarding immigration, especially their humane treatment and the well being of their families.”

Celebration of Vespers and Meeting with the Bishops of the United States of America, National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Wednesday, 16 April 2008

“Many of the people to whom John Carroll and his fellow Bishops were ministering two centuries ago had traveled from distant lands.  The diversity of their origins is reflected in the rich variety of ecclesial life in present-day America.  Brother Bishops, I want to encourage you and your communities to continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrow and trials, and to help them flourish in their new home.  This, indeed, is what your fellow countrymen have done for generations.  From the beginning, they have opened their doors to the tired, the poor, the ‘huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’  These are the people whom America has made her own.”

Holy Mass, Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Washington Nationals Stadium, Thursday, 17 April 2008 
(In Spanish):  “The Church in the United States, welcoming in its bosom so many of its immigrant children, has been growing also thanks to the vitality of the testimony of faith from Spanish-speaking faithful.  For this, the Lord calls you to continue contributing to the future of the Church in this country and the spreading of the Gospel.  Only if you are united to Christ and among yourselves, will your evangelizing testimony be credible and bloom with copious fruits of peace and reconciliation in the midst of a world many times marked by division and conflicts.  The Church hopes much from you.  In your generous commitment, do not let it down.  ‘What you have received freely, give freely’ (Matthew 10:8).  Amen!”

Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Yankee Stadium,Sunday, 20 April 2008
“Today we recall the bicentennial of a watershed in the history of the Church in the United States: its first great chapter of growth.  In these two hundred years, the face of the Catholic community in your country has changed greatly.  We think of the successive waves of immigrants whose traditions have so enriched the Church in America…In our day, too, the Catholic community in this nation has been outstanding in its prophetic witness in the defense of life, in the education of the young, in care for the poor, the sick, and the stranger in your midst.”

(In Spanish):  “Here, in this country of freedom, I want to proclaim with strength that the Word of Christ does not eliminate our aspirations to a full and free life, but rather in it we discover our true dignity as sons of God and it encourages us to fight against all that enslaves us, beginning with our own egotism and whims.  At the same time, it encourages us to manifest our faith through our life of charity and make our ecclesial lives be each day more welcoming and fraternal.  Above all to the youth I entrust you to take on the great challenge that comes with believing in Christ, and to manifest your faith through closeness to the poor, and through generous responses to the calls that He continues to make to leave everything and begin a life of total consecration to God and the Church, in the priestly or religious life.  Dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to look to the future with hope, allowing Jesus to enter into your lives.  Only He is the path that leads to the happiness that never ends, the truth that satisfies the noblest human aspirations, and the life overflowing with joy for the good of the Church and the world.  May God bless you.”

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