Immigration Council takes action to Welcome the Stranger

Posted on June 9, 2015

When Patrick Ghiota migrated to Springfield from the Republic of the Congo, he left his wife, 4-year-old daughter, and 2-year-old twin sons behind so he could save enough money to pay for their green card fees and bring them to America.

He began working at a local restaurant as a dishwasher making minimum wage. However, he was involved in a car accident that mangled his hand and made working a challenge.

Patrick was referred to the Diocesan Immigration Council, coordinated by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield, in August 2014 seeking financial assistance for green card fees for his family.

The Immigration Council requires applicants to pay only 25 percent of the total cost of the application. Patrick’s request was approved and the Immigration Council paid $495, while Patrick contributed $165.

“Many immigrants who come to the United States want to become citizens through the established process but simply cannot afford it,” said Steven Roach, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield. “Fees for families can run into the thousands of dollars. We want to help people who are trying to do it the right way.”

“The Immigration Council has also provided workshops for immigrants on available resources and immigrant rights,” Roach added.

In the last 18 months, the council has approved assistance to approximately 50 men, women and children with funding to obtain green cards, apply for citizenship or help pay for naturalization processing fees with the grants provided by the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope. The financial assistance is sent, on behalf of clients, directly to the United States Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

To learn more about the Immigration Council or to donate, call 1-800-745-5194.