NEWBURGH – Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York hosted a free community Immigration Information Session and Legal Clinic at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh recently. The path to lawful status can be a long, difficult, and frequently complicated journey. Catholic Charities strives to clear some of the confusion, dispel rumors, and provide accurate information and resources for immigrant families that attend the clinic.
Catholic Charities’ team of seven attorneys provided individual legal consultations to more than 50 immigrant families. The day’s events also included a “Know Your Rights” training program to help immigrants understand what they can, and should, do if they are contacted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), safety planning strategies, benefits and services information, and guidance on how to report and protect against fraud. Other topics addressed with participants included how to obtain a drivers license and workers’ rights information.
Nine volunteers, many of whom were bilingual, helped with translation and gathered background information from clinic attendees so that the legal team had the information necessary to provide the most appropriate advice and options.
“The immigration process is a difficult one. Misinformation and mistrust can make it even more challenging. Our legal team provides important information and guidance free of charge for those seeking assistance with their immigration status. Our volunteers make each person feel welcome and comfortable, treating attendees with dignity, respect, and compassion,” said Maryann Tharappel, Special Projects Director, Immigrant & Refugee Services, Catholic Charities. “I’m very proud of the support provided at these clinics.”
45 individuals were found eligible for immigration benefits and 31 were scheduled for follow-up legal assistance.
Community partners ArchCare and Cornerstone Family Healthcare were on hand to provide blood pressure screenings and assist with basic medical information for attendees.
Catholic Charities will host the next Immigration Legal Services Clinic on Saturday, July 20 at the Church of St. Peter, 10 Liberty Street, Monticello, from 9 am to 3 pm. Topics that may be covered include free application assistance for renewal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Green Card renewals, Know Your Rights during contact with ICE, information about available services and resources for immigrant families, and free immigration legal consultations for all in need.
To schedule an appointment for the next clinic, call (347) 921-0631 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals in need of assistance who are unable to attend a clinic should contact the Catholic Charities Newburgh Office of Immigration Services office at 845-562-4736, or call Catholic Charities’ Office for New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 for assistance in more than 200 languages.
To find out more about volunteer opportunities with Catholic Charities, visit www.catholiccharitiesnyvolunteer.org.