Catholic Charities Newsletter

May 2018

From the Director’s Desk

On May 12, 2008, federal authorities raided the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. Nearly 400 undocumented plant workers were detained and 297 were given five-month prison sentences before being deported. While still feeling the aftershocks of this event, a decade later, almost to the day, another immigration raid shook an Iowa community. On May 9, 2018, 32 men were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials at MPC Enterprises in Mt. Pleasant.
Two days later, Archbishop Jackels and Catholic Charities staff attended “The Summons,” an Interfaith Prayer Service to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Postville raid. An estimated 350-400 people were present. In light of May 9th, the importance of gathering together with people of all faiths and backgrounds is only heightened. It is a reminder to stand in solidarity with the hundreds of families who have been affected-and continue to be affected-by these events.
In the immediate aftermath of both raids, families were desperate for information and legal assistance to help their loved ones. Catholic Charities’ Immigration Attorneys have been working with families affected in the most recent raid to provide legal intakes and advice to ensure all detainees have access to counsel.
The need for professional and low-cost Immigration Legal Services has only increased over the years, which is why Catholic Charities has committed to expanding our Immigration Legal Services. We have recently welcomed an Immigration Legal Assistant and a third Immigration Attorney to our team and are hiring a fourth attorney to meet this increase in need. By offering free consultations to our immigrant brothers and sisters, we hope that affordable, quality legal assistance will be available to those who need it across the Archdiocese.
We remain in solidarity with those we serve and will continue to do the work that our moral teachings and Pope Francis calls on us to do to support immigrants and refugees. Please keep all affected by the most recent raid in your prayers, click here for a Justice Prayer for Immigrants. 
God Bless,

Tracy Morrison, Executive Director


Callie Anglese wins Dancing with the Stars: Dubuque Style

Pictured above: Callie Anglese celebrates her wins at Dancing with the Stars: Dubuque Style

Callie Anglese, of Hammer Law Firm, raised over $80,000 for Catholic Charities’ with the Dancing With the Stars: Dubuque Style event, sponsored by the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, May 12th.  She was the top fundraiser of the night’s event and also won Judges’ Choice for her outstanding performance.
We are extremely grateful for Callie’s hard work advocating and fundraising for our Jail & Prison Ministry Program these past six months!
“For the past 3 years, I’ve been privileged to serve as the Defense Attorney for the Dubuque and Delaware County Drug Court program,” said Callie. “This program changes participants’ lives through recovery, education, and rehabilitation. Catholic Charities’ Jail & Prison Ministry program offers financial, emotional, and all-around support to help people to resist relapse and to deter offenders from reverting back to old, bad habits and lifestyles. DMy goal was to raise as much money as possible for Catholic Charities because they impact so many people’s lives.”

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  

In June 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program began as a temporary solution to shield young immigrants from deportation and allow them permission to live and work in the United States, with the option of renewing every two years.  These young immigrants arrived in the United States when they were children, under the age of 16, and do not have legal status. While controversial at the time, it disappeared from headlines until September 2017 when the current administration announced the termination of the DACA program.  

Those eligible to apply for DACA must have been under the age of 16 when brought to the United States, have arrived prior to 2012, be in school or have graduated high school, and have not committed a felony or three or more significant misdemeanors.  In 2017/2018, Catholic Charities’ Immigration Legal Services served approximately 30 DACA applicants.
Yer Vang, Director of Immigration Legal Services, shared examples of the families they continue to serve.
“One DACA applicant that I worked with when I started at Catholic Charities was a young, single mother,” said Vang. “She was brought here from Mexico as a young child and now has two children of her own, one with special needs, and both are US Citizens.  After being approved for DACA, she was able to work without fear and provide stability for her family.”
Many DACA recipients, despite their young age, become the caretakers and are financially responsible for their families.
“At a recent Know Your Rights event, I had a couple ask if their 18-year-old daughter, who was a recipient of DACA, could be the legal guardian for her younger siblings in the event something happened to the parents,” said Vang. “The fear of deportation is very real for many immigrant families and safety planning is extremely important.”
Currently, the ongoing litigation has allowed DACA recipients to renew, if eligible.  However, it does not permit initial first time DACA applications. Every two years, DACA recipients must renew their work authorization.  
Catholic Charities’ immigration attorneys provide free consultations to immigrant families to help them understand their legal options. Catholic Charities’ immigration attorneys also provide assistance to clients with immigration legal issues by providing low-cost, fee-for-services legal representation with family-based immigration and citizenship services, including representation in immigration court. They also focus on educating community groups on the latest immigration issues such as immigrant’s rights and the importance of having a qualified immigration legal professional advise immigrants of their legal options. For more information please click here or contact 319-364-7121.
Dubuque Days of Caring Volunteers Prepare Affordable Housing Properties for Spring  

Pictured Above: Volunteers from Fidelity Bank at Ecumenical Tower during Dubuque Days of Caring

As part of Dubuque Days of Caring on April 27th and 28th, Catholic Charities welcomed volunteers from Fidelity Bank and Trust (pictured right) as well as the Kropp and Townstend families to Ecumenical Tower and Kennedy Park West. They assisted with clean-up both inside and outside the properties to welcome the warmer weather. 
Catholic Charities was one of 53 agencies helped through Dubuque Days of Caring. A total of 1,303 volunteers spent 5,673 hours bettering their community, an estimated $143,566 equivalent.
Thank you to the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, Dubuque Area of Chamber of Commerce, and Young Professionals of Dubuque for allowing us to be a part of the day. And a very big thank you to the volunteers who donated their time to Catholic Charities.  
Removing the Stigma of Mental Illness
By Lisa Turner, Catholic Charities Counselor

In any given news cycle, there are reports of atrocities committed by people against people: chemical warfare attacks in Syria, school shootings, cars plowing through crowds of pedestrians, and more. And the common human impulse is to try to make sense of the senseless and try to understand, why do people do what they do?

Too often, the blame for the inexplicable has been mental illness and by extension, those who provide them love and care. These acts of violence are hard to understand and they are complicated and instead of thinking issues through thoughtfully (because that can be difficult and not feel very good), human nature seeks out the easy answer. Additionally, because acts of violence and things we do not understand (like mental illness) are scary, we want to distance ourselves from it. Put it in a box. Label it. Mental illness. This is the definition of stigma – negative attitudes towards something, often accompanied by negative behavior.
For full article, please follow this link.

Catholic Charities NOW HIRING 

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque has immediate openings for full-time Mental Health Counselors in various office locations. Successful candidate should be licensed in Iowa as a Mental Health Counselor or Marriage and Family Counselor or Independent Social Worker and preferably of Catholic faith.  
Catholic Charities also has an immediate opening for a full-time Immigration Attorney to provide legal services and representation to immigrants and refugees. This position requires a J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school and licensed to practice law.  Prefer 1-3 years, fluency in Spanish/English and of Catholic faith.
Competitive salary and benefits included for both positions. Email resume and cover letter to Human Resources at
If you have questions about employment, contact Lynn Osterhaus, Human Resources Director at, or 800.876.3546.

Welcome Miryam Antúnez De Mayolo!

Miryam Antúnez De Mayolo, Immigration Attorney

We are very excited to welcome Miryam Antúnez De Mayolo to our Catholic Charities team! Miryam is an Immigration Attorney and will be based out of our Waterloo office. 
She most recently was an attorney with Antunez De Mayolo Law Office in New York and of counsel with Frerichs Law Office in Waterloo. Miryam is bilingual in Spanish and graduated from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru and University of Iowa College of Law.
“I started my academic life at a Catholic school,” said Miryam. “It is only fitting that I start what might very well be the last chapter of my professional life where it all started. My dad always told us that we are here to serve others; the worse put down he had was to call us kids ‘useless.’ To him there was nothing worse than being on this earth and not serve others. Catholic Charities serves vulnerable populations that cannot afford an attorney. I am proud to have joined a group of first-rate immigration attorneys with a passion for justice and a commitment to serve.”
Welcome, Miryam!

Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Brimeyer

Pictured above: Melissa Brimeyer (Center), husband Joe, son Ryan, and daughters Rachel and Isabel

Since 1930, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque placed over 3,300 children in adoptive homes. While direct placement ended in 2010, the commitment to these families has not. Many individuals involved in the process are now attempting to learn more about-or even reconnect with- their relatives, and Catholic Charities Post-Adoption Search services allows this to happen through confidential intermediary services.

“Even though these folks were separated by adoption twenty, thirty, forty plus years ago, we’re still strengthening families, providing them with closure […], and helping bring some sort of completion to that circle,” said Melissa Brimeyer.

Melissa Brimeyer has volunteered with Catholic Charities’ Post Adoption Search ministry since August 2012. However, she is not new to the field. For the past decade, she has volunteered with private agencies in the Quad Cities, helping to provide an opportunity for healing for countless families.

“Melissa is one of the kindest, compassionate and generous women I have ever met,” said Angie. “It is truly an honor and a privilege to work alongside her.”
For full article, please follow this link.
If you would like to volunteer with Catholic Charities, please contact Mary Ready, Community Outreach Coordinator, at 319-272-2080 or or click here to see our current volunteer opportunities.