Catholic Charities Free Community Legal Clinic in Goshen Helped Immigrants Understand Their Rights and Responsibilities

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GOSHEN, NY – Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York hosted a free community Immigration Information Session and Legal Clinic at St. James Episcopal Church in Goshen recently. The path to lawful status often can be a long and difficult journey and one that has become increasingly complicated. Through these sessions, Catholic Charities strives to clear some of the confusion, dispel rumors, and provide accurate information for immigrants.

Catholic Charities attorneys worked with volunteers to provide 72 immigrants with free legal consultations, as well as access to services and resources for 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.

The team of 26 volunteers, many of whom were bilingual, provided 169 hours of service. They offered translation assistance and moral support while they gathered background information from the clinic attendees so that the legal team had the information necessary to provide the most appropriate advice and options.

“The hard work and dedication of our experienced staff and volunteers make these clinics a success,” said Maryann Tharappel, Special Projects Director, Immigrant & Refugee Services, Catholic Charities. “Our legal team provides important information and guidance for those seeking assistance with their immigration status, and the volunteers treat each person with dignity and respect, as well as care and compassion,” added Ms. Tharappel.

Nearly 40 individuals were found eligible for immigration benefits and 27 were scheduled for follow-up legal assistance.

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. This clinic will include free application assistance for renewal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Green Card renewals, Know Your Rights Training, which explains what to do 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 cccscommclinics@gmail.com. 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.

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