Immigration Legal Services Program (March 2020)
On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Catholic Charities Legal Immigration Services Program staff experienced a very gratifying victory at the Miami immigration court.
"In 2013, a 64-year old Jamaican woman first came to our office. At that time, she had an outstanding removal order and was reporting to ICE under an order of supervision. We initially were able to assist her only with work authorization. Our client subsequently became a victim of domestic violence by her U.S. citizen spouse. We assisted her with an I-360 petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was approved.
Following the approval of the I-360 petition, we then needed to reopen her removal proceedings so that she could apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident. The Department of Homeland Security was not willing to join in our motion to reopen her removal proceedings, so we were forced to ask the immigration judge to re-open proceedings sua sponte which they often will not do.
However, the judge granted our motion, and yesterday (March 11, 2020) was the merits hearing on her adjustment of status application. Things went extremely well, and, after a two-hour hearing, and seven years with our office, she was granted lawful Permanent Residence. The client was extremely grateful for our assistance and cried tears of joy."
Thank you to all the supporters of this program who help to change the lives of our clients every day.
Disaster Recovery Program - January 2020
Disaster Recovery Program (Hurricane Dorian efforts) – The following is a thank you note that was sent from a client whose family was assisted by Disaster Recovery Program Case Manager, Maria Melo. The Bahamian family received case management services during their time in Palm Beach County as evacuees.
"I take this time to say a heartfelt thank you to yourself, Alex and the amazing Catholic Charities. You guys are phenomenal and I cannot express how thankful and grateful I am to have been in your care. When I set foot off of the Humanitarian cruise ship I was first greeted by a Catholic Charities representative and was given a brochure. You guys are the true epitome and demonstrates the true love of Jesus Christ.
Maria has been my case worker and I can definitely say she was God-sent. She has shown love and concern and she was always in touch. Though Alex was not my case worker I am sure the others will say the same for him as well. I wish them both the best in their future endeavors and to the Catholic Charities as you go around blessing others my prayer is that God will always align sponsors, etc. to bless the organization. We will miss them and they will always be in my heart.
Hunger, Homeless & Outreach
This is "Ms. A", I hope everything is well. I spoke to your supervisor who followed up with me regarding the payment received for rental assistance. I so appreciate your organization checking up on me!
I informed him of the situation missing about a week with my sons MRSA infections. I told him everything was good but I was still behind $300.00. Surprisingly he said send over proof and you would look into paying my balance! Amazing just in time for the holidays. I was so surprised and so amazed at what a wonderful organization that I have been involved with since my first pregnancy.
Your organization is such a blessing to become affiliated with. I speak so highly of you guys and would recommend anyone who is looking for any type of support (mental, financial) to come and give you a visit!
They say it takes a village to raise children and with limited family and friends I'm proud you are apart of my village.
The lord always looks out for me and I'm tearing up writing you this email. I swear I'm amazed how I make it so far with limited resources.
I just want to send my sincere appreciation for such wonderful assets you provide to the community.
You have by far made my life just a bit more bearable.
Thank you so much again.
I could go on and on all day about how much this means to me, however I need to get back to work.
Thank you again and God bless."
Interfaith, Health and Wellness
Case Story - "Mara", a Spanish speaking mother in her mid 40’s, had been suffering from severe pain in her hips, knees and feet because she could not afford a follow up with medical treatment needed for her conditions and it was difficult with the language barrier. The Wellness Nurse helped her connect with health insurance that was able to cover her on-going treatment. She began attending the weekly Arthritis exercise class and Mother to Mother Health Ministry. Maria now feels more comfortable with herself and confident in her ability to care for her family.
Children and Family Counseling
Counseling Services – “Fernando” came to the Catholic Charities Counseling office in February as a victim of a crime. Fernando sought counseling due to feeling panicky and anxious after being attacked with a weapon in a hallway at his high school. Fernando felt that he had to watch his back at all times while at school. Fernando reported that he was cooperating with the authorities and the District Attorney’s Office to stop his attackers from hurting anyone else. Before the incident happened, Fernando stated, “I was a normal 17-year-old boy who loved playing soccer, hanging out with friends and going to school. Since this incident, I am fearful. I do not want to go out anywhere nor take the bus to school. When I do go out, I want to have an adult or a family member with me at all times. I am not taking any chances of something like this happening to me again.” In sessions, Fernando received support and learned coping skills to decrease his anxiety. He learned ways to protect himself by having a companion stay with him, keeping close to the teachers during lunch time and reporting any anomaly to the school authorities when he felt that he was in danger. He began to gain more confidence in himself every day and became proactive by becoming more aware of his surroundings. Counseling treatment helped prevent Fernando from possible future psychological distress. With the help of counseling from Catholic Charities, Fernando was able to learn how to calm his nervousness and recuperate from the effects of the attack. He overcame his fears and regained his trust in people. Instead of becoming a statistic for suicide or a high school drop-out, Fernando graduated from his high school and will become the first member of his family to attend college.