CATHOLIC LEGAL IMMIGRATION NETWORK, INC.
415 Michigan Avenue, N.E., First Floor, Washington DC
20017 (202) 635-2556 FAX (202) 635-2649
CATHOLIC LEGAL IMMIGRATION NETWORK, INC. (CLINIC)
NATIONAL INFORMATION AND REFERRAL LINE FOR ASYLEES
August 7, 2001
On July 2, 2001, CLINIC's national, multilingual Asylee
Information and Referral Line became operational. The
referral line is funded by the federal Office of Refugee
Resettlement (ORR) through CLINIC's National Consortia
Projects Division. The goal of the referral line is to
link asylees with local refugee service providers and
benefits for which they are eligible.
The referral line received nearly 100 calls during its
first month. Callers are given basic information about
benefits and services and referral information for local
service providers. The operators use a computer database
of information collected by CLINIC from states and
national voluntary resettlement agencies. States were
asked to provide a list of their refugee social service
contractors, while national voluntary agencies were asked
to provide a list of their Match Grant programs. If this
information is not available for a given state or locale,
callers are referred to their State Refugee Coordinator.
ORR is working with INS and the immigration courts to
ensure that the toll free number for the referral line is
provided in the asylum grant letter. In addition, INS
detention centers have agreed to provide the number to
detainees who are granted asylum. The referral line is
intended for asylees only. Service providers with
questions about policy or eligibility should see the ORR
website at http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/orr/or contact their State
Refugee Coordinator. The number for the referral line is 1-800-354-0365.
The Asylee Information and Referral Line is staffed
through CLINIC's partner agency, Catholic Charities
Community Services (CCCS) of the Archdiocese of New York.
CCCS also operates a statewide immigration hotline with
multilingual staff. CCCS has eight full-time operators
and one part-time operator who answer the asylee referral
line. Based on asylum statistics and demographics, CLINIC
prioritized the following languages for the referral
line: English, Mandarin-Chinese, French, Russian,
Spanish, Albanian, and Amharic. These are expected to
change over time. With current staffing patterns, CCCS is
able to provide information to asylees in 11 additional
languages (Haitian/Creole, Polish, Macedonian,
Serbo-Croatian, Arabic, Turkish, Bosnian, Italian, Hindi,
Urdu, and Punjabi), for a total of 18 languages. The
referral line is open Monday through Friday, from 9:00
a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
In the Acontrol room,@ CCCS's hotline coordinator is able
to see how many lines are in use at any given time, track
the length of each call, and listen to operators=
conversations with callers. CCCS will collect additional
information on the volume of calls, their origin,
languages requested, and referral information given.
CLINIC hopes that this information will be used by
service providers to plan and advocate for additional
services and funding.
For further information, contact Laura Burdick,
Project Coordinator, at (202) 635-5820.