Garden City, Kansas — Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas and the Catholic Agency for Migration and Refugee Services have joined forces to form a new Legal Immigration Services Office that was recently accredited by the United States Department of Justice.
The merging of Catholic Charities and the Catholic Agency for Migration and Refugee Services combines years of wisdom and experience with even more robust and comprehensive legal representation for the people of southwest Kansas. In addition to the backing of the Department of Justice, the new Legal Immigration Services Office will file and monitor every case through Edge software, an all-in-one comprehensive immigration case management solution that gives clients a web portal where they, too, can access all of their paperwork, and the current status of their case.
"The merging of our two offices brings significant added value for those who must navigate the immigration system,” said Debbie Snapp, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “In addition to the years of experience that the Catholic Agency for Migration and Refugee Services brings to the table, we are thrilled about being able to offer additional services and support through legal representation that is transparent and accountable for our clients who arrive in the country and choose to make southwest Kansas their home.”
Catholic Charities has been assisting refugees, immigrants and migrants since the 1960s when an extensive Catholic Charities Migrant Work Program emerged to assist migrant workers and their families. In 1975, Bishop Marion Forst asked Catholic Charities to provide refugee resettlement services for Southeast Asians who had fled their homeland following the Vietnam war. Between 1975 and 1982, Catholic Charities worked with USCCB to resettle 431 Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian refugees. In 1982, the Catholic Diocese continued to support refugee resettlement first through the Catholic Agency for Migration and Refugee Services, then through the International Rescue Committee, and now once again through Catholic Charities.
As refugees continue to arrive from Cuba, Bosnia, Somalia Eritrea, Afghanistan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Burma (Myanmar), Catholic Charities offers a holistic spectrum of refugee and immigration services. Walking with immigrants and refugees on their path from arrival to citizenship, agency staff help them overcome culture shock, create their first home, secure documents, achieve economic self-sufficiency, integrate successfully into their community, and prepare them for citizenship.
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