Immigration and Citizenship Services
WHAT WE DO AT CATHOLIC CHARITIES:
Citizenship – naturalization preparation for legal immigrants
NEW Citizenship Class starts February 7 - download bilingual flyer (pdf)
We interview/assess each applicant to determine eligibility for naturalization, and assist with citizenship applications through group events and individual appointments. We help people prepare for citizenship tests and interviews through English literacy group classes and individual tutoring. Two sememster-long classes per year are held at 987 Airway Court, Santa Rosa.
Photo: Citizenship class, December 2012
“Deferred Action” youth aims for college degree
Yesenia Velazquez (photographed at right with volunteer Mike Mullins) is a 20 year old with dreams of working as a lawyer. She is the first high school graduate in her family, but a year ago she could not get the financial support she needed to go to the college of her dreams, Sacramento State, because of her lack of legal status. But today, because of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Yesenia is applying for a work permit and sees “big, big changes in the future, not just for me, but for my daughter,” she said. With a driver’s license, Social Security card and a work permit, she hopes to become employed by a local restaurant, and return to the Junior College before reaching for the degree in law. “Her application is very straightforward,” said immigration volunteer Mike Mullins, Sonoma County’s retired District Attorney (photographed above). Yesenia, too, is very confident in her clean record. She could be granted her temporary status three to four months after sending her application. She is aware of the current political winds that favor more immigration reform, and wondered if she should wait. Our accredited immigration representatives and Mr. Mullins agreed that there are too many unknowns to wait and perhaps miss a good chance to start a positive change in her future.
Important Announcement: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Catholic Charities urges all eligible youth to be careful with inexperienced practitioners and notarios who may attempt to take advantage.Here is a link to more information: http://www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals
Resettlement services – a refugee resettlement program
We provide refugees with resettlement and placement services through the USCCB. We run a family reunification program, offering case management and supportive services, combining the support of staff with local family and community members, to establish their new home.
Immigration Services – family reunification and legal residency
We prepare and file USCIS petitions and other documents, including visa petitions, adjustments of status, affidavits of support, consular processing documents, and work authorizations. Our work leads to the reunification of immigrant families and employment authorization. Our BIA Accredited Representatives assist with applications and renewal or replacement of documents, advocate for clients, translate documents and make referrals for legal and social services. Staff/volunteers speak English, Spanish, Cantonese, and French. Contact: 578-6000.
Violence Against Women Act & U Nonimmigrant Status – services to immigrant victims of domestic violence and/or violent crime
We work towards obtaining U Nonimmigrant Status (for immigrant victims of crime) and filing VAWA petitions (for immigrant victims of domestic violence married to legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens). People we help may obtain work authorizations, social security cards, driver’s licenses and eventually, permanent residency. We provide U Nonimmigrant Status filing services for victims of violent crime, resources for counseling and restraining orders; referrals to resources for counseling and family support. Contact: 578-6000.
Catholic Charities is a partner with the Family Justice Center (FJC). Our staff member, Molly, works on location and is a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Accredited Immigration Representative. She assists immigrant victims of crime in applying for visas and benefits for which they are eligible, and she advocates within the legal and immigration system for victims of crime. Other services at FJC: Sonoma County Legal Aid,elder abuse, sexual assault and personal assistance in finding the right services and people to help. Located at 2755 Mendocino Avenue, Suite 100, (707) 565-8255. You can also call Catholic Charities for assistance with VAWA AND U VISA Applications for victims of domestic violent or other violent crime, 578-8000.
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