Blog

Catholic Charities Partnership Offers First-of-Its-Kind Pro Bono Project for Immigrants

Posted on April 9, 2018 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Follows Pope Francis’ Exhortation to Help Migrants

As Syrians flee chemical attacks, Hondurans run from deadly gangs and fellow refugees find themselves walled off by National Guards, Catholic Charities NY expands support for vulnerable immigrants through our just-launched New York State Liberty Defense Pro Bono Project.  Announced at Catholic Charities day-long free immigration legal clinic in Yonkers on April 13, this new Pro Bono partnership with New York State establishes a growing network of attorneys and law students that provide legal aid to immigrants.

Similar to Catholic Charities’ myriad of programs for immigrants and refugees, this project responds to Pope Francis’ direction reinforced today in his just-released exhortation.

"Some Catholics consider the situation of migrants to be a secondary issue," Pope Francis wrote.

"That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children."

ICYMI: Yesterday Liberty Defense Project & @CathCharities came together for a day-long free immigration legal clinic at St Peter's-St Denis Parish in #Yonkers, where a network of attorneys & law students provided legal aid and KYR trainings to participants in need of assistance pic.twitter.com/IrSFYDxZhA

— NYS New Americans (@NYSNewAmericans) April 7, 2018

The first of its kind in the nation to combine the legal expertise of the public and private sector, the Pro-Bono project expands resources to help immigrants. Legal services include deportation defense, direct representation, consultations, application assistance and more. Administered by Governor Cuomo’s Office for New Americans it is run in partnership with law firms, legal associations, advocacy organizations, colleges, universities and bar associations across the state including Catholic Charities.

Developed and operated by Catholic Charities, the pro bono project is designed to give attorneys tools to assist the most vulnerable immigrants in New York and to match them with cases. Volunteer attorneys are supported by expert legal training, continuous technical assistance, and in-depth substantive mentorship, which is provided through Catholic Charities and its staff of expert attorneys.

“I thank Catholic Charities and all our partners for coming together to pool resources and bring more volunteers to the forefront of this fight for the spirit of the American Dream,” said Gov. Mario Cuomo.

The Catholic Charities-operated New Americans hotline - 800-566-7636 – that provides free, multi-lingual services and help with file fraud complaints enhances this new project. Since its inception, more than 150 complaints against fraudulent legal service providers made to the hotline have resulted in referrals to appropriate District Attorneys' offices.

“Catholic Charities is very pleased to partner with New York State on this important initiative to help vulnerable immigrants,” said Catholic Charities NY Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan. “Unfortunately, the ongoing crises caused by unacceptable rhetoric and policies will necessitate that New York State continue to provide resources to assist vulnerable immigrants through this program.”

Similar to the legal clinic held last week in Yonkers, Catholic Charities offers FREE legal clinics throughout the New York Archdiocese.

We need your help. We are seeking attorney or law student volunteers interested in providing pro bono representation for immigrant clients No prior immigration experience is necessary. Training and high intensity mentorship will be provided. While second language fluency preferred, it is not required.

Join Catholic Charities NY Pro Bono Project