CLINIC Convening 2023 a Great Success

Thank you to all of you who joined us at CLINIC Convening 2023 in Phoenix! It was a wonderful few days of learning, connecting, and growing in our immigration legal skills and commitment to justice for our immigrant brothers and sisters.

This year’s Convening set a record for in-person attendance, with over 650 attendees. Attendees gathered from all across the United States, from rural Iowa to San Francisco to Boston, and came from a range of backgrounds: attorneys, DOJ accredited representatives, caseworkers, and immigration program managers.

Convening 2023 began with an Opening Plenary featuring remarks from CLINIC’s executive director, Anna Gallagher, as well as a keynote panel featuring leaders of three Affiliate agencies from different areas of the country. The keynote panelists spoke about their agency’s response to the end of Title 42 and the reception of large numbers of migrants coming from the border to the interior.

Gallagher welcomed the Convening attendees by recalling the shared vision of the CLINIC network: “…Being in your presence gives me such hope. I am reminded that the CLINIC network is full of holy people.

“That is why our gathering here together, and throughout this week, is so powerful: we are, to borrow the words of Bishop Seitz of El Paso, working to be a ‘creative counterexample’ to the culture of fear and hostility, to be a network that is slowly creating a new culture of solidarity and hospitality.”

The three panelists expanded on this theme by explaining the unique and creative ways their agencies were responding to the particular needs of newly arrived migrants in their communities. The panelists were Joel Enriquez-Cazarez of Jewish Family Service in San Diego, Carolina Rivera of Catholic Charities Dallas, and Yer Vang of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

An opening reception followed the panel, featuring live music from local Phoenix musicians.

The three days of Convening were packed with informational and engaging sessions. The most popular of the sessions were focused on family and marriage-based immigration, followed by sessions focusing on naturalization and Lawful Permanent Resident status. Issue-specific sessions were also popular, such a session on Prior Removal Orders, Unlawful Presence, and the Permanent Bar, as well as a session on Hot Topics in Parole.

CLINIC Convening is a critical opportunity for legal practitioners and advocates to gather to gain training, share information, network, and create relationships that help them in their work for immigrants. Mark your calendars and save the date — we hope to see you next year in Minneapolis, May 29-31, 2024!