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Media Contact:
Eric L. Steckel,
Communications Manager

Catholic Charities of the East Bay Completes Unaccompanied Minors

Legal Practice Area, Wins First Asylum Case
Largest East Bay provider of immigration legal services responds to demand for
representation of unaccompanied minors with attorneys in three locations.
OAKLAND, Calif. June 3, 2015 Catholic Charities of the East Bay, a social services agency
serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, has joined an elite group of legal providers
serving the high number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the US. To better meet
the needs of the immigrant community, they have hired key new staff to provide these services
in each of their locations in Oakland, Richmond and Concord.
Catholic Charities completed the unaccompanied minors practice area with the
appointment of Jessica Arena, an immigration attorney working in their Concord office. Ms.
Arena, who received her law degree from UC Davis School of Law, joined the agency after
working as a contract attorney for two private East Bay immigration law practices. There she
worked on deportation defense and affirmative applications, including U-Visas, Deferred Action
for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status, and
With Jessica joining our Concord office, Catholic Charities of the East Bays immigration
legal services practice can now provide representation to unaccompanied minors in all three of
our service locations, said Christopher Martinez, director of legal services at Catholic Charities.
We are proud of what we have achieved in a short period of time. Last year, only a handful of
agencies provided these services, and they were at full capacity. We saw a need, found the
necessary funding, and hired a team of attorneys that can serve the most vulnerable in our
Catholic Charities secured asylum for its first unaccompanied minor, a nine year old from
Central America who was physically and sexually exploited before fleeing to the US. We have
saved a childs life, explained Martinez. If she were back in her country, she would not have

survived. This is about following Pope Francis call to help those who truly cannot help
The Catholic Church is the largest provider of social services throughout Alameda and
Contra Costa Counties. Catholic Charities, founded in 1935, is the visible face of the diocese in
that work, and is a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recognized organization with licensed
attorneys and BIA-accredited representatives on staff.
About Catholic Charities of the East Bay: Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB) is a
social services agency headquartered in Oakland, California. In the last fiscal year, Catholic
Charities served over 8,000 clients in three primary programs: "Fostering Self-Sufficiency"
provides services designed to strengthen families and increase income to livable wages.
"Welcoming the Stranger" offers legal immigration, refugee relocation and refugee employment
services. "Healing Trauma" delivers immediate and sustained support to victims of crime,
especially those impacted by community, domestic, and family violence, as well as mental
health treatment to students and adolescents experiencing multiple, ongoing incidences of
trauma. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Eric L. Steckel, Communications Manager Office: 510-768-3147

Mobile: 415-713-2220 E-mail: