Catholic Migration Services:
• Catholic Migration Services (CMS) has provided direct legal assistance to at least 56 children from Ecuador, Central America and Mexico in the past year. Half of them are unaccompanied minors that entered the U.S. by crossing the U.S.-Mexico border outside of any official port of entry.
• Twenty-two of them were younger than 15 years of age. Some were as young as 9 years old.
• CMS’s legal staff determined that at least 28 of the children were eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Others have valid asylum claims, and at least one child was deemed eligible for a U Visa, a particular visa that is issued based on crime victim status.
• Many of the unaccompanied minors assisted by CMS in Brooklyn and Queens were apprehended by Customs and Border Protection officers at the U.S.-Mexico border and, after a period of detention, were released into the custody of family members residing in the diocese.
• In some instances, family members contacted their pastor or other parish staff to request legal assistance upon learning of their child’s apprehension.
Safe Passage I (for unaccompanied minors) – Safe Passage I is a program funded by the U.S. Bishops to provide services to minors that enter the U.S. alone. Some are placed in foster care, while others join their families here. The task is to secure a safe home for the minor and provide a smooth transition through case management that includes school enrollment, a Social Security application, medical checkup, health insurance, legal representation and counseling. This year, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens (CCBQ) has assisted one minor.
Resettlement and Placement (for refugees) – Charities’ Refugee Program welcomes and assists refugees as they arrive and resettle in small towns and big cities throughout the U.S. With the support of the U.S. Department of State’s Reception and Placement (R&P) Program, it provides newly arrived refugees with the essential services and support they need to begin to rebuild their lives and take steps toward becoming U.S. citizens. This year, CCBQ has assisted three refugees, with an expected two more in the coming weeks.
Match Grant Program – an alternative to public cash assistance providing services to enable refugees, asylees, Cuban and Haitian entrants, certain Amerasians from Vietnam, Victims of Severe Forms of Trafficking and Special Immigrant Visa Holders (SIVs) to become economically self-sufficient within 120 to 180 days of program eligibility. Services required under this program include case management, employment services, maintenance assistance and cash allowance and administration. Up to date, CCBQ has assisted 283 individuals.