Who Uses the STVCC Immigration Law Clinic?
There are many misconceptions when it comes to the perception of immigrants in our country. According to Melissa Indish J.D., Immigration Attorney at St. Vincent Catholic Charities, it can be “easy to stereotype” and to assume that clients using immigration law services are entering the country illegally. This type of mindset shows the lack of awareness in the state of Michigan about immigrants and Immigration Law.
As Indish states, the clinic “provides legal representation to foreign nationals (or any person) with immigration needs.” These needs include citizenship applications, family based visa petitions, representation for unaccompanied minors, employment authorization, assistance in addressing deportation/removal proceedings and more. With the vast array of services, the STVCC Immigration Law Clinic represents a wide variety of clients, with over 50 countries represented. Most clients reside in the Lansing area, however STVCC has represented clients across the state of Michigan, from cities such as Detroit and Grand Rapids, and even areas in the Upper Peninsula.
“In the majority of our cases, we’re working with clients who are in the country lawfully, but want to be reunited with family members, or need to apply for a green card,” shared Indish. “I chose this career path because it is a very complex area of law that is constantly changing, and I like helping people.”
The fact is, the STVCC Immigration Law Clinic has transformative qualities, much like the other services that the agency offers. To Melissa Indish, she finds Immigration Law fascinating and challenging. “I can see the direct impact I make on people, and the results of my hard work. When I win a case, a person is now a citizen. Their life has been completely transformed.” A reminder of this can be seen on Indish’s window sill, where flowers from a recent client sit, and a thank-you to Melissa for re-uniting a father with his son in the United States.