A need and a dream. That is how the Catholic Charities' ministry to immigrants began.  

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque has a long history of welcoming the strangers since our inception in 1931. Our faith guides us to the most vulnerable, and in 2007 we started an immigrant drop-in center to offer assistance such as interpretation, translation, and helping refugees and immigrants navigate different social service systems. Very quickly it was recognized that the priority need was legal assistance to help immigrants reunite with their families. Many immigrants specifically needed assistance in completing sound, quality immigration paperwork and getting correct legal advice. In response, Catholic Charities became recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) which allowed us to hire an accredited BIA legal representative to provide limited immigration legal services. For the next eight years, two different BIA legal representatives provided legal assistance in Dubuque. In 2015, the services expanded into additional communities including Cedar Rapids and New Hampton. 

Navigating immigration law has become increasingly complex and we had extensive wait-lists for immigrants needing legal assistance. In 2014, we launched a fundraising campaign to hire our first Immigration Attorney the following year, which allowed us to serve an additional 195 new immigrants that year.
Thanks to many generous donors and strategic partnerships, we are thrilled to share that our drop in center has transformed into a full service Immigration Legal Services program. Now, more than a decade later, we have four Immigration Attorneys and two legal assistants (pictured above) located in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo that allowed us to serve over 420 clients in 2018 throughout the Archdiocese of Dubuque. This rapid expansion has allowed us to be available in additional communities such as Decorah, Dubuque, Hampton and Waterloo.

We are the only non-profit organization in the Archdiocese of Dubuque providing this unique ministry, and have therefore, become a leader in Iowa providing the highest quality, affordable legal services to immigrants. We are thankful for the strategic and financial partnerships that have made the expansion of legal services to immigrants available and we look forward to a very bright future.

Tracy Morrison, Executive Director