August 17, 2023 // Diocese

Immigration Services of Catholic Charities of Fort Wayne-South Bend Receives Local Grant

Thanks to a generous grant from the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation for $75,000, Immigration Services at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend (CCFWSB) will grow to accommodate the needs of migrants in northern Indiana. This support comes at a vital time, as the war in Ukraine and civil unrest in Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, and Nicaragua continue to unfold and the Department of Homeland Security has rolled out new humanitarian programs for individuals seeking temporary protections. As a result, immigration agencies across the country are expected to see an increase in demand for services.

For decades, CCFWSB has worked hard to provide accurate, safe, and affordable legal care for immigrants in the region. This spring, CCFWSB Immigration Director, Luz Ostrognai, was approved to renew her status as a fully accredited representative with the Department of Justice. This designation ensures that the organization remains qualified to provide immigration legal services through non-attorney staff members or volunteers in accordance with federal regulations. The Department of Justice, through the Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP), confirms that Ostrognai possesses the character and fitness, broad knowledge, and adequate experience in immigration law and procedure, as well as the necessary skills for effective litigation, and the training related to trial and appellate advocacy that are required to practice before the Immigration Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals, and Department of Homeland Security.

“For 22 years, our agency has provided immigration legal services to immigrants and refugees needing to adjust their legal status,” said Ostrognai. “This grant will help us maintain the quality of our legal services, as well as keep up with the demand.”

CCFWSB is proud to continue to provide this much needed service to the community, and is grateful for the generosity and support of St. Joseph Community Health Foundation. This gift will provide at-risk migrants with access to their legal rights and aid them in finding safety and security in their new home. Agency officials expect to see an increase of migrants in northeast Indiana, and remain committed to providing immigration services, including family-based petitions, naturalization, and humanitarian aid applications.

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