Immigration services to be offered in Muskogee

By Harrison Grimwood Phoenix Staff Writer | Posted: Monday, November 23, 2015 3:00 am

Immigration services from a charitable group in Tulsa is extending its reach to Muskogee with bimonthly meetings.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Tulsa will send an immigration lawyer to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Muskogee twice each month for consultations and follow­up appointments.

An immigration attorney with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Tulsa helps an immigrant family at their Tulsa office. People in Muskogee will be able to receive help will immigration issues through a program at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

An immigration attorney with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Tulsa helps an immigrant family at their Tulsa office. People in Muskogee will be able to receive help will immigration issues through a program at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

“Most of what we do here is family­based immigration,” Michael Abdoveis said. “Basically, we’re either trying to keep folks here, bring them in legally or help them get legal status whenever they’re here.”

Abdoveis, the attorney taking on immigration services in Muskogee, said the services are for any immigrant who needs help. Services offered through the charity include family petitions, green card replacement, naturalization, and helping the undocumented.

Abdoveis will be at St. Joseph, 321 N. Virginia St., the first Thursday of each month for new consultations and every third Thursday for follow­ up appointments.

Abdoveis said the organization can help undocumented immigrants. He also said that any interaction with undocumented immigrants in his capacity as a lawyer is protected by client­ attorney confidentiality.

“If we can’t help them, we’ll give them an honest assessment as to why we can’t, and we’re happy to refer them to other lawyers in the area … that have expertise to offer them a second opinion,” he said. “We’d love for them to come in and try to find a way to get them documented.”

Immigration services through Catholic Charities cost a nominal fee. Abdoveis said the majority of the cost comes from court filing costs.

Michael Abdoveis

Michael Abdoveis

However, the immigration attorneys at Catholic Charities will not turn a person away because they make too little or too much money, Abdoveis said. The charity may waive fees or work with clients in other ways.

Abdoveis does not speak Spanish, but he said St. Joseph has several employees who speak Spanish and are available to interpret for Spanish­speaking immigrants. People seeking immigration services are free to bring an interpreter, he said.

Although the immigrants Catholic Charities works with are primarily Hispanic, the organization will help immigrants from any country.

Reach Harrison Grimwood at (918) 684­2926 or harrison.grimwood@muskogeephoenix.com.