Path to Citizenship is a northeast Iowa ecumenical organization that began in Decorah in 2014 in partnership with Justice for Our Neighbors, a national organization of the United Methodist Church. Path to Citizenship provides free legal advice to help navigate the complicated immigration process.
Path to Citizenship co-coordinator Kathi Mitchell shared about the organization's work at the Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center Thursday morning. According to Mitchell, the Decorah-based free legal clinic served 47 clients from 13 countries in 2016 -- the largest percentage hailing from Mexico and Guatemala. Other countries represented were El Salvador, Honduras, Pakistan, Germany, Central African Republic, Thailand, Somalia, and Laos. 35 people volunteered at the clinic during 2016, clocking more than 400 volunteer hours.
Path to Citizenship exists to help immigrants in NE Iowa. Some of these immigrants are trying to follow a path to legal residency, some are seeking respite from violence and war, and some are pursuing education or opportunities to work. Mitchell says she and co-coordinator Ruth Palmer "have a love and affinity for people who are struggling. With a little help, immigrants can gain security for their families and hope for their children."