Launch of Aquinas Center Immigration Legal Services

August 16, 2018

Philadelphia, PA – ­­Aquinas Center announces the launch of immigration legal services on September 17, 2018 to provide low-cost, high quality, and culturally-accessible legal services to the immigrant community in South Philadelphia.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice approved the Aquinas Center’s application for recognition, meaning that we are now able to have trained staff to assist in immigration proceedings before the Department of Homeland Security, the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s immigration courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Although we have previously hosted other legal clinics in our space and provided ad-hoc assistance through volunteer attorneys, establishing our own legal services will ensure our community has access to competent and consistent support for years to come. Moreover, the Aquinas Center Immigration Legal Services (ACILS) will emphasize a holistic, person centered approach that also connects individuals and families to counseling, social work, spiritual assistance, and education resources.

Aquinas Center Immigration Legal Services will offer non-litigation legal services including, but not limited to: petitions for relatives, applications for permanent residency, requests for an employment authorization document, and applications for naturalization. We will also screen every client for any additional immigration benefits such as asylum, VAWA, DACA, cancellation of removal, acquired and derivative citizenship, etc. Our diverse team will offer assistance in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesian, and French Creole, with additional languages as needed. The legal clinic will be open for appointments on Mondays from 3PM-8PM, the first Saturday of every month from 9AM-3PM, and other times as scheduled with the ACILS DOJ representative or volunteer attorney.

Aquinas Center was established in 2013 as a collaborative effort between the parishioners of St. Thomas Catholic Community, neighbors in South Philadelphia, and many people of good will. The center was created as a place to offer mutual support by fostering cross-cultural understanding with a mission to build unity in diversity, support learning, and inspire thoughtful action in order to respond to the changing needs of the community. Hospitality, solidarity, responsiveness, and transformation are the four core values that animate and advance this mission.

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Aquinas Center Immigration Legal Services is located at 1700 Fernon Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145. To learn more about our community and services, visit http://aquinascenterphilly.org/legalservices/ To volunteer with our monthly legal clinic, contact legal@aquinascenterphilly.org or (267) 702-3454.