Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
“We’re using non-attorneys to represent the community, and this is empowering because the immigrant will have representation which is crucial in this environment and because the representatives many times are community members themselves and are being empowered by this process.”
– Michelle Mendez, Executive Director
What We Do
CLINIC trains and supports nonlawyers within immigrant communities to become partial and fully accredited representatives.
CLINIC manages online Facebook groups to help immigrants connect with each other, share resources, and build community.
In 1988, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops created CLINIC to provide legal support and training to a network of immigration organizations to pursue competent representation of immigrants in need. CLINIC undertakes limited direct representation through the Defending Vulnerable Populations Project and a religious worker visa program. Today, the network operates in 47 states and the District of Columbia, employs about 2,300 Accredited Representatives, and trains around 10,000 people a year, touching the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
To effectively meet the needs of immigrants and build their agency through the process, CLINIC implements a variety of key initiatives. These range from providing Know Your Rights and pro se support for immigrants to training non-lawyers, particularly former immigrants, as Accredited Representatives and thereby, providing tools for empowerment to immigrant communities. CLINIC also hosts online forums (two Facebook groups) where immigrants and staff connect with and learn from each other on how to navigate the immigration process and provide emotional solidarity and support. As part of its efforts to further immigrants’ rights to due process, CLINIC is involved with the Dilley Pro Bono Project (formerly the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project). To reform the current immigration law, CLINIC also engages in advocacy and litigation, promoting media coverage of the struggles immigrants face navigating the current system.
This website is a project of the Legal Empowerment and Immigration Network, a group convened by NYU School of Law’s Bernstein Institute for Human Rights and Global Justice Clinic. The website is part of a multi-year documentation initiative to make visible the powerful impacts of legal empowerment programs to advance the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants in the U.S.Interested in joining the network or want to find out more information? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.