McCormick Pavilion
415 Michigan Avenue, N.E., First Floor, Washington DC 20017 (202) 635-2556 FAX (202) 635-2649
National Office


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 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