Flashback Feature: Religious Immigration Services (RIS)

Last Updated

March 27, 2024

The Catholic Church increasingly relies on foreign-born priests, nuns, and seminarians to serve at parishes, schools, hospitals, and nonprofits across the United States. It is no surprise to find that local dioceses work with their own immigration attorneys and lawyers to bring more religious workers to the country. To better serve this burgeoning demographic, CLINIC’s Religious Immigration Services (RIS) section was created to help the Church. RIS employs several attorneys and paralegals to work side-by-side to represent the legal needs of Catholic dioceses, religious communities of priests and nuns, and parochial schools bringing foreign-born religious workers to serve short- or long-term in the United States. RIS clients may come from as far as India and Vietnam or as close as Mexico and serve in communities as far-flung as Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine.

Foreign-born religious workers can be found ministering to parishioners at Mass, teaching in schools and universities, and aiding the sick and poor as well as other immigrants. RIS’ work has a tremendous impact on local communities and cannot be done at such a productive and efficient level without CLINIC’s engagement. To gain a better understanding of RIS, check out our Neighbors, Not Strangers story “Guided by Grace: A Catholic Woman’s Journey to Enter Religious Life Amid Immigration Challenges.”