Catholic Charities' legal clinics help immigrants understand their rights

| 17 Jul 2019 | 01:27

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York recently hosted a free community immigration information session and legal clinic at St. James Episcopal Church in Goshen. Another clinic is being offered this Saturday in Monticello.
Catholic Charities says the path to lawful status often can be a long and difficult journey, and one that has become increasingly complicated. Through these sessions, the organization strives to clear some of the confusion, dispel rumors, and provide immigrants with accurate information.
In the Goshen clinic, Catholic Charities attorneys worked with volunteers to provide 72 immigrants with free legal consultations and access to services and resources. 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 are 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 needed to provide the best advice.
“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."
Nearly 40 people were found eligible for immigration benefits, and 27 were scheduled for follow-up legal assistance.
More help offered
Catholic Charities will host its next clinic on Saturday, July 20, at the Church of St. Peter, 10 Liberty St., Monticello, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 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
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 about volunteer opportunities with Catholic Charities, visit