Immigration and Refugee Resettlement

Catholic Charities welcomes immigrants into our community, providing the guidance and assistance necessary to stabilize their situations, achieve self-sufficiency as quickly as possible.

 

Services Provided

We provide services in seven languages through three distinct program units:

 

Legal Counseling

 Comprehensive, reliable legal counseling is the backbone of our immigrant services, helping newcomers negotiate complex and ever-changing immigration and naturalization laws. Catholic Charities is the only agency on Long Island fully recognized by the U.S. government (Board of Immigration Appeals) to offer legal advice, process petitions, and represent clients on immigration law matters up to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), U.S. Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals.

Our counselors currently handle more than 9,000 active cases, including adjustments of immigration status, family reunification, work authorizations, political asylum, visa extensions, and citizenship applications. They also offer legal assistance to victims of human trafficking and immigrant victims of various crimes including domestic violence.

 Family members of alien children who are in a shelter or were released from one are offered free legal information about the immigration court process.  This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, EOIR, and the VERA Institute of Justice.

 

Refugee Resettlement

 In partnership with the U.S. government, the U.S. Catholic Bishops, and New York State, refugee resettlement staff reach out to people who arrive on Long Island fleeing war, natural disaster, or personal persecution in their countries of origin. Full-range case management services help these most vulnerable of newcomers to stabilize their lives by securing food, clothing, housing, health care, English language instruction, and employment services. Some transitional cash assistance is available. Counseling and referral are available for those facing post-traumatic stress, displacement shock, or other anxieties.  Resettlement and legal services are also available to victims of human trafficking.

 

Advocacy and Organizing

 Advocacy and organizing are coordinated to address laws, policies, and practices that are unfair and inhumane toward immigrants. Many immigrants - including increasing numbers of legal, long-standing, and elderly immigrants - find the system unresponsive when they seek emergency services and benefits to which they are entitled, such as Medicaid or food stamps. Advocacy helps cut through the red tape on a case-by-case basis. Working with the U.S. Bishops, broad-based community organizing efforts unite the voices of immigrants seeking systemic changes to improve immigration laws and access to public benefits. Vigorous voter registration is central to the empowered participation of immigrants and their families.

 

Eligibility and Fees

 Any immigrant is eligible to receive services, regardless of status, documentation, or national origin. Fees are based on ability to pay for some essential services.