St. Frances Cabrini Immigration Law Center

We Are Here to Help

This immigration services program started providing service to the community in 2000 under Vicary for Community Social Service.  In 2009 the program took a big step and partnered with Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana and the International Club of Southwest Louisiana. It was established under the name of St. Frances Cabrini Immigration Law Center (St. Frances Cabrini) in 2013. We operate as a nonprofit charitable organization funded by community partnerships, grants, nominal fees, fundraising activities, and tax-deductible contributions to serve and assist the immigrant population in Southwest Louisiana. We assist all people regardless of age, gender, creed, or nation of origin.

Our mission is to provide, social, educational, and legal services to immigrant families. St. Frances Cabrini provides legal services, information, advocacy, referrals, and support for immigrants on issues relating to immigration, employment, citizenship, and social services. We provide comprehensive, professional, and confidential assistance on visa options, immigration, and citizenship status such as: 
  • Legal and Social Services for immigrant abuse as a result of domestic violence under VAWA work permits    
  • Application for Adjustment of Status/Green Card
  • Naturalization/Citizenship
  • Work Visas
  • Petition for Alien Relatives
  • Translation
  • Asylum
  • Immigration Consultations
  • Consular Visa Processing
  • U and T Visas
The international community in the Lake Charles area is expanding rapidly and St. Frances Cabrini Immigration Law Center is also expanding to meet the growing needs of this diverse community. In addition to the legal services that are provided, we are committed to foster an understanding and cooperation across cultures, advocating for the rights of all immigrants and working in collaboration with other social service organizations. As appropriate, Immigration Services will provide educational and formation programs assisting the immigrant population to become a part of our local community.

Contact Us

Phone: 337-477-0683
Address: 3226 Lake Street, Lake Charles, LA  70601

Louisiana Bar Foundation Grant

Through the Louisiana Bar Foundation grant of $50,000 we were able to hire a staff attorney, Chance Shoemake, to fit the growing needs of the community. Chance began as a volunteer with the organization. A native of the Lake Charles area, Chance attended law school in San Antonio, where he went on to pass the Texas Bar. He is now studying for the Louisiana Bar.
We are grateful to the Louisiana Bar Foundation for this generous grant to assist our community. Chance assists people in the following areas: adjustments of status, work permits, attaining citizenship, refugees, domestic violence, and reuniting immigrant families. 

ESL and Citizenship Classes

The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Human Services Department
Pictured left to right front row: Mrs. Charmagne Turpeau, Accountant; Mr. Tarek Polite, Director of Human Services;
Mrs. Pamela D. Anyanwu, Program Specialist CSBG;
Second row: Mrs. Sherril Gallien, Life Coach:  Mrs. Dalia Matheus, Executive Director of St Frances Cabrini; and Mrs. Juana Felton, Program Coordinator.
St. Frances Cabrini would like to thank the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Human Services Department for their Community Partnership. The funds from this Community Partnership have helped the local and international community with ESL and citizenship classes, immigration, and life coaching projects.  Thanks to the Community Partnership, immigrants are able to become valuable members of the community.  This project is a gift that keeps giving. Thank you again for your highly valuable support to St. Frances Cabrini Immigration Law Center.
English as a Second Language (ESL) and Citizenship Classes 
With the support of our community, local government, and generous supportive organizations, St. Frances Cabrini offers tools and assistance for citizenship. 
St. Frances Cabrini was able to offer ESL and Citizenship classes to students in the community. This was made possible through the generous Community Partnership from the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Human Services Department and St. Henry Catholic Church. The classes, held on Tuesday and Thursday at St. Henry Catholic Church, started in January and continued through the end of April. These ESL classes taught basic language skills to students. By the end of the classes students were able to speak basic English, such as asking questions and holding conversations. 

Thank you to Msgr. Torres for his support through the years to St. Frances Cabrini Immigration Law Center.

Stay tuned for updates on future classes. 
Mr. Armando Pedraza came to the United States in 1981 and worked in the construction industry throughout his career. He was able to became a citizen with the support of St. Frances Cabrini through the help of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Human Services Department grant. Mr. Pedraza attended all of the citizisnhip classes. Now, he can not believe he is an actual U.S. citizen. 
Congratulations, Mr. Pedraza!

Citizenship Ceremony

On July 13th, 2016 the Executive Director of St. Frances Cabrini, Dalia Matheus, and staff attorney, Chance Shoemake, had the opportunity to attend a citizenship ceremony in Alexandria, Louisiana, for our client, Maria Elisa Simancas from Quito, Ecuador. This ceremony was particularly special as the presiding judge, The Honorable Judge Joseph Perez, is the son of immigrants. During the inspiring ceremony, he and the other attendees shared their stories on becoming U.S. citizens.  Afterwards, attendees were provided snacks to celebrate this momentous occasion.  
Meet Elisa Simancas: Elisa came to the United States through a scholarship application with McNeese University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Previously, she obtained her undergraduate at St. Francisco University in Ecuador, where she earned her Journalism degree. 

She became an American Citizen and appreciates the opportunity that the United States offers her. Now she can enjoy the benefits of being an American.  She can vote, travel the world with a U.S. passport, apply for Federal jobs, and so much more. Ms. Simancas wants to give thanks to St. Frances Cabrini and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Human Services Department, who helped her in filing her papers correctly and supported her throughout the process.
Pictured left to right: Elisa Simancas, Judge Joseph Perez, Flor Simancas, Dalia Matheus (Executive Director of St. Frances Cabrini), and Chance Shoemake (attorney for St. Frances Cabrini)

In The Community

We would like to thank Mayor Randy Roach and his staff for the continued support of our organization. He personally recognized and congratulated Mr. Dionizio Ortiz for obtaining his citizenship after 29 years in the United States.
Pictured below, left to right: Dionizio Ortiz and Mayor Randy Roach
Pictured above, left to right: Esther Vincent, Director of Community Devolvement and Services; Dionizio Ortiz, Chance Shoemake, Attorney of St. Frances Cabrini; and Dalia Matheus, Executive Director of St. Frances Cabrini.
* A special thank you to Mrs. Esther Vincent, Director of Community Development and Services, for all the support she has provided from the mayor's office to St. Frances Cabrini Immigration Law Center.

Success Stories

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Guidry on their recent wedding ceremony. St. Frances Cabrini Immigration Law Center was instrumental in uniting Mr. and Mrs. Guidry through a fiancé Visa.

In the picture, they wear traditional Mongolian wedding dress.  It's made of cotton and silk with handmade decorations. Usually the bride is in red and gold while the groom wears blue and gray. The wedding lasts at least two days. All family members come to join in the celebration of love. They bring instruments to play and sing while enjoying a big meal -- mostly mutton and beef. Of course, alcohol accompanies the festivities. They have kept this tradition for hundreds of years since the time their hero, Genghis Khan, attempted to conquer Europe.

Life Coaching Recipient

Jeremiah is an engineer. He entered the United States in November, 2015 as a refugee from Nigeria. St. Frances Cabrini Immigration Law Center is helping him to file for his work permit and become a permanent resident of the United States. Also, through a Community Partnership from the Police Jury, Jeremiah is receiving training on his driving test, job opportunities, and other assistance as he acclimates to the United States culture.  

Community Involvement

At this time, we would like to offer a special thank you to Professors Luz Molina, Hiroko Kusuda, Ramona G. Fernandez, and Erika Zucker of the Loyola Law Clinic for supporting our organization through the years.

Mayor Randy Roach honored them with the Key of the City when they came to Lake Charles for the SWLA Economic Development Alliance to present a workshop on Demystifying Immigration Law for Employing Immigrant Workers. Also, we thank Mr. Richard Smith, Vice President of Business and Workforce Development of the SWLA Economic Development Alliance for his collaboration and support of St. Frances Cabrini Immigration Law Center.

Pictured above, left to right: Richard Smith, Esther Vincent, Erika Zucker, Mayor Randy Roach, Hiroko Kusuda, Luz Molina, Ramona Fernandez, Dalia Matheus.
Pictured left to right:  Mayor Randy Roach and Prof. Luz Molina
Pictured left to right: Mayor Randy Roach and Prof. Ramona Fernandez
Pictured left to right: Mayor Randy Roach and Prof. Hiroko Kusuda
Executive director, Dalia Matheus, attended the 3rd annual SOWELA Resources fair along with volunteers.

St. Frances Cabrini would like to thank Global Management Enterprises for their continued support over the years.

Our board members are Corliss Badeaux, Hilda Rothschild, Maaliyah Papillion, and Dalia Matheus.
Our advisory board members are Attorney, Rick Norman, Rev. Richard Adiukwu, James Skinner, Rev. Peter O Addison Otuonye, Edward Fonti

Dalia Matheus, Executive Director
Copyright © 2016 St. Frances Cabrini Immigration Law Center, All rights reserved.

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