Catholic Charities of East Bay expands legal immigration services due to Obama’s executive action

Catholic Charities of East Bay expands legal immigration services due to Obama's executive action

The Catholic Charities of the East Bay, which has offices in Oakland, Richmond and Concord, has expanded its legal immigration services in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in response to an increase in demand for services since President Obama’s executive action on immigration in November.

The social services organization has hired an immigration attorney and legal assistant, is looking to fill more positions and has expanded service offerings in order to help meet the demand of about 65,000 East Bay immigrants who are affected by the President’s executive order.

“Not only are we seeing record numbers of people seeking our services, but we are expanding our services to serve unaccompanied children in their fight to stay in this country,” said Christopher Martinez, director of legal services at Catholic Charities.

Eric Steckel, spokesperson for Catholic Charities, said the need for more immigration services is a growing trend.

“We are by no means alone,” Steckel said. “All of the agencies with whom we collaborate and align are experiencing a similar growth.”

Catholic Charities is also conducting monthly workshops in partnership with the Diocese of Oakland designed to connect clergy, church staff and parishioners with immigrant communities in their neighborhoods, called the “Helping Our Neighbor” initiative.

President Obama’s executive action on immigration offers temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants and an indefinite reprieve from deportation, as explained in the Washington Post’s “complete guide” on the topic.

The action, however, is currently on hold as it faces legal challenges by a coalition of 26 states who argue Obama’s move was unconstitutional.

Watch the YouTube video below for the President’s November speech on the executive action.