Catholic Charities New Hampshire was awarded two separate grants, both from the New Hampshire Department of Justice (NHDOJ), to extend its ongoing work in protecting and supporting immigrant victims of crime across New Hampshire.
Both grants will fund specialized immigration legal services as part of the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which assists immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other crimes committed by U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The first grant is a one-year, $60,000 extension of a previous VOCA grant. The second grant for $293,079 covers a two-year grant period that began on July 1, 2018.
“Lost in today’s immigration discussion are the thousands of immigrants across the country subject to crime, assault and other types of senseless and inhumane violence,” said Cathy Chesley, director of immigration legal services for Catholic Charities New Hampshire. “They lack voices to raise their hands for help, live amid unprecedented anxiety and terror, and experience severe physical and mental implications.”
The grants will enable Catholic Charities immigration legal services staff to support up to 75 immigrant victims of crime across the state annually – including children, mothers and the elderly – providing them with the full legal benefits available to them under current federal immigration law. Services also include safety planning, mental health assessments, immigration petition filing, employment authorization and case referrals to community agencies and organizations.
“These two grants provide critical funding to restore victim protection and safety, but also the dignity of their lives,” added Chesley. “We are incredibly appreciative of the NHDOJ in allowing us to continue our support of these immigrants, so they and their families can lead independent lives free from violence and fear.”
Catholic Charities New Hampshire is the only accredited provider in New Hampshire offering a full range of family-based legal immigration assistance for low-income and impoverished immigration victims of crime. Since 2006, Catholic Charities has protected nearly 500 victims of crime.