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New York Times Offers Peek into Catholic Charities Immigration Clinic

Posted on February 24, 2017 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Faces of Fear and Anxiety


Delfin Polanco, from the Dominican Republic, waiting for an appointment to speak to a lawyer about his immigration case at a Catholic Charities office in New York. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

A small girl in a faded pink cotton dress.  An old man whose wallet is filled with his grandchildren’s photos.  A young wife pregnant with her first child. These are just a few of the thousands of immigrants and refugees – children, couples, families – who seek advice from us at Catholic Charities on how to rebuild their lives in the U.S.  The need is overwhelming.

Yesterday, New York Times columnist, Jim Dwyer experienced what we see every day at the Catholic Charities legal clinic at 80 Maiden Lane in Manhattan:  

“Delfin Polanco waits on Thursday morning for a lawyer to help him stay in the country where he raised his son and has lived for 22 years,” Mr. Dwyer writes.

“Like about 40 others, he arrived by 5 a.m. in Lower Manhattan for a legal clinic offered for immigrants by Catholic Charities. It will be hours before he is seen.”

Mr. Polanco, a moving man, is a member of the Teamsters.  He was part of the crew who moved the Yankees to their new home in 2008.  He helped clean the debris after the World Trade Center terror attack.  And similar to so many who breathed that filthy air, he now has trouble breathing.  But, he was born in the Dominican Republic.  Now, as immigration enforcement gears up, he comes to Catholic Charities worried he may be deported:

More people live in New York City in 2017 than at any time in its history; nearly half were born outside the United States, Mr. Dwyer continues in today’s New York Times article.  A tribe of people from all over the world saved the city by moving here and going to work. The Trump family made fortunes in New York, thanks to them. With or without permission to be in the country, immigrants drove pistons in the city and national economy — in the service industry, in agriculture, in universities and in entry-level jobs. ..

Inevitably, some large, uncountable number are here without permission. The enforcement of immigration laws depends on a cat’s cradle of rules and policies strung together by successive presidential administrations. ..

The political stalemate meant the continued growth of a jury-rigged system that allowed tacit acceptance of people who were law-abiding, apart from their immigration status. Like, for instance, Mr. Polanco.

This week, President Trump’s administration announced plans to enforce the laws aggressively by deporting those who are in the country illegally, regardless of their behavior

Worries about expanded enforcement are driving throngs to clinics like the one held by Catholic Charities every Thursday in the financial district beginning at 8 a.m.

Catholic Charities provides legal consultations, representation and assistance to thousands of documented and undocumented newcomers like Mr. Polanco, of all nationalities, ethnicities and religions.  Similar to services offered at our downtown NYC office, we provide services throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley.  All matters are treated professionally and confidentially.

Call our toll-free New York State Immigration Hotline for help:  1-800-566-7636

Catholic Charities is responding to the needs of our neighbors during the 
COVID-19 pandemic.

For Help Call 888-744-7900