About Our Program
Refugee Integration Services
Catholic Charities Refugee Integration Services works with refugee communities and other partners to design programs that leverage community assets to facilitate the integration of refugees and immigrants into communities across southeastern Wisconsin. Integration is an on-going process in which refugees, immigrants, and members of the receiving society grow together to develop strong economic, social, cultural, and civic connections. As a result, our communities are more secure, vibrant, and cohesive.
To foster integration, we develop programs in partnership with refugee & immigrant communities that promote social bridges and bonds, develop desired skills and cultural knowledge, and encourage US citizenship. We offer a spectrum of learner-centered trainings so that refugees build the real-life knowledge, attitudes, and skills that they want to achieve success. Volunteers in our program have the chance to build relationships with new residents through a variety of activities. Participants work together at times and locations convenient for them.
Our Immigrations services are comprised of an attorney-based program that helps local immigrants find their best legal options. We serve:
- Newcomers to the U.S. who are seeking to become citizens or reunify with family members living in the United States
- Individuals trying to secure asylum or temporary protection in the U.S.
- Immigrant victims of domestic violence.
We provide services to our clients who could otherwise not afford competent legal counsel.
Zarina is happy to be an American citizen. She is Rohingya and came to the U.S. as a refugee from Myanmar/Burma. For the first time she feels the freedom of being able to say, “This is my country. I can go anywhere now.”
When Zarina came to the U.S., learning the language and becoming a citizen were very important to her. She is a busy mom of four. There just wasn’t enough time to go to school between caring for her family, managing school for her children, and working outside the home.
Working closely with leaders of the refugee community, Catholic Charities understands the challenges that Zarina and others face to find time and transportation to participate in a traditional classroom setting. In response, Catholic Charities RIS program created a volunteer tutoring program that would be flexible to meet individual needs.
When Zarina began asking family and friends where she could find help to prepare for the U.S. citizenship test, she learned of volunteer tutors who could come to her home. That is when she met Kim who was a trained volunteer tutor through Catholic Charities RIS program. They were paired in January 2020. When the pandemic made virtual meetings necessary, Zarina and Kim were able to continue their lessons through WhatsApp. Zarina says that Kim would help to “push her through” and encourage her saying, “You can do it!” Zarina reached her goal of citizenship, and says, “I am thankful to her forever.”
Read more Refugee and Immigration Services Impact Stories here.
If you are looking for current events and up-to-date legal information, please click below to be re-directed to our Refugee and Immigration Services’ website:
Our RIS Specified Website
We have created a website dedicated to answering immigration questions. The goal of the website is to provide accurate information, dispel rumors, and help you understand your legal options in the United States.
We have written about the immigration processes that fall within our expertise. Most of the topics we have covered are typical cases we handle for our clients. They include but are not limited to:
- Lawful permanent residency (green cards)
- Family based petitions
- Diversity visa lottery
- Green card renewal
- Religious workers
- Missionary visa
- Religious green card
- R-1 Nonimmigrant religious worker
- Special Immigrant religious worker
- Student visas
- Deportation defense
- Integration and Education services
- Humanitarian Relief
- U nonimmigrant status
- VAWA self-petition (Violence Against Women Act)
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
- DACA Renewal
Arriving in the United States as a refugee or immigrant can be confusing and overwhelming. Adjusting to new customs, navigating new systems, and learning new languages are all challenges that our clients face as they arrive into their new communities.
Catholic Charities works with refugee communities to assist with your integration needs. Our experienced immigration attorneys assist low-income immigrants and refugees with lawful status through U.S. Immigration.
Our Referral List
We have also included a lawyer shopping guide to help you find a good immigration attorney who can take your case. The guide includes a referral list of local attorneys whose expertise we trust and endorse.
Please visit risccmke.org to learn more about your legal options in the United States.
**From 1976 to 2018, Catholic Charities served refugees as a resettlement agency. While it saddened us to close a chapter on 46 years of service, we are excited to look to the future and see how our staff are able to serve the refugee community in southeastern Wisconsin through our new Refugee Integration Services.