Immigration Legal Services Program
Over the past five years Catholic Charities legal staff has conducted more than 3,500 consultations with prospective clients, approximately 600 of these consults were done with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes, and our agency has represented over 2,000 clients in the U.S. immigration and family court.
Since 2016, our legal services staff has opened:
966 Family-Based cases
- 720 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) cases
- 638 U-VISA and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) cases
- 175 Citizenship and Naturalization cases
- 101 Bond Hearing/Request cases
- 104 Defense of Deportation cases
- 51 Asylum cases
- 44 Religious Visa cases
- 16 Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases
- 9 Victim protective or restraining orders
The legal fees we charge our clients are typically 10% of what a private attorney would charge for similar services. For those who financially qualify, we also offer clients pro bono legal services and representation in court through generous donations made by our donors and private foundations.
Catholic Charities community organizers support and serve migrant worker communities in Deming, Hatch, Las Cruces, and Roswell. In 2020, our agency’s organizers have:
- Advocated with elected officials for workers’ rights and safe working conditions
- Provided direct assistance including personal protective equipment to over 100 migrant worker families
- Confronted employers over dangerous workplace conditions and abuses including wage theft
- Worked with elected officials to raise awareness of community issues including access to clean drinking water, crime, and discrimination in workplaces and in schools
- Engaged more than a thousand voters through voter registration drives and events
- Provided migrant workers and their families with access to computers and WiFi so they can participate in online English as a second language (ESL) and General Education Development (GED) Programs.
Public Assistance and Emergency Aid Program
Thanks to the generosity of donors, businesses, and foundations, over the past five years Catholic Charities has directed assistance to thousands of southern New Mexico families and individuals in need. The most frequent requests we receive are for food, utilities, rent, temporary shelter (for crime victims), and medical assistance. In 2020 and 2021 the agency had provided more than $350,000 in direct assistance to families and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent examples of assistance include:
- Purchase of a first-time electric wheelchair for a disabled young girl
- Scholarships as well as residence hall accommodations and meal plans for homeless high school seniors who are financially unable to attend Dona Ana Community College and New Mexico State University
- Feeding and providing shelter to homeless high school students year-round, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays
- Paying for funeral costs for families who have lost loved ones through COVID-19
- Helping victims of crime start a new life by providing food, clothing, medical, and utility assistance as well as rent deposits
- Providing pro bono legal assistance to DACA receipts who are frontline health care workers
- Through college scholarships, housing assistance, and partnerships with other non-profit agencies, support foster care youth who lack resources and often a way forward when they exit the foster care system at the age of eighteen
- Establishment of a defense of deportation and asylum program to defend immigrants who are fleeing gangs, violence, torture, and poverty in Mexico and Latin America (we also provide free legal aid to asylum seekers fleeing from Africa, Cuba, Iraq, and Venezuela)
- Financial support of disabled orphans and developmentally disabled adults who live at El Manantial Hogar in Cuidad Juarez
We receive many phone calls and requests for direct assistance like these daily. By supporting and donating to Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico you are allowing us to help New Mexicans in need, making a difference in the world one individual and family at a time.