Center for Removal Defense

Call (503) 542-2855 or email: Click here (Select Immigration Legal Services)

Access to low-cost and pro bono legal services are essential for immigrant families facing increased risk of deportation.  However, the availability of these legal services to immigrant families facing separation is extremely limited. Retaining a private immigration attorney for representation in removal proceedings can cost tens of thousands of dollars. As such, access to high-quality removal defense representation is usually far out of reach for the average immigrant family living in Oregon.


Many who are new to this country have very little and are often unable to afford the kind of legal representation that ensures safeguards and legal protections when detention and deportation become real threats.

The Center for Removal Defense leverages Catholic Charities of Oregon’s existing Immigration Legal Services (ILS) team to improve our ability to tackle complex immigration court cases, specifically detention and removal defense, for vulnerable families. The center, in conjunction with the ILS team, provides high-quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees and engages in public education, training, and community outreach to promote positive conditions for the full participation of all newcomers.


Changes in immigration policy enforcement has put many children in Oregon at risk of being separated from their families. Catholic Charities of Oregon has collaborated with statewide partners in education, foster care, and immigration legal services to develop cross-system infrastructure, policies, and procedures to protect children and keep them out of state custody in the event of detention or deportation of a parent.

Check out our volunteer opportunities.


Through the Center for Removal Defense, Catholic Charities of Oregon offers pro bono removal defense legal services to the portfolio of services our Immigration Legal Services team offers. The Center provides legal protections for immigrants who are unable to afford attorneys and will ensure safeguards for vulnerable mixed-status families when detainment and deportation becomes a real threat. We have one full-time lawyer and one full-time legal assistant dedicated to providing clients with representation; outreach and education; and development, management and coordination of comprehensive pro bono activities.

Three men and four children smiling


At Catholic Charities of Oregon, we believe in justice and humane treatment for all humans. We believe in keeping families together. We know that Oregon is home to 391,200 immigrants, 192,000 of whom are children, and 62,000 with at least one undocumented immigrant parent. 49,000 of these children are United States Citizens. The Center for Removal Defense is vital for families in desperate need of their services to keep their family together.

To support the Center for Removal Defense, make an online donation here.

Find Help/Busca Ayuda

Call (503) 542-2855 or click here (Select Immigration Legal Services)

Llama (503) 542-2855 o haz clic aqui y selecciona “Immigration Legal Services” (Servicios legales de inmigración).


Migration Services Featured in "'A blanket of fear’: How deportations affect children"

Posted By | Staff
A recent article in the Catholic Sentinel discusses the destructive effects of deportations and detentions on children and families. The Catholic Sentinel’s Katie Scott spoke to Pope Francis Center Director Vanessa Briseño, Intercultural Counseling Center Manager Lucrecia Suarez, Immigration Legal Services Director John Herrera, and retired immigration judge Michael Bennett. Read the article on their…

Resources for Those at Risk of Detention or Removal

Posted By | Staff
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) has developed two resources that may be useful in the event of a detention or removal attempt: “Know Your Rights” cards in several languages and the rapid response toolkit. If you need further assistance, please contact our Immigration Legal Defense team at (503) 542-2855 or by emailing

Refugee Resettlement Services Featured in "Oregon may help offset federal cuts to refugee support"

Posted By | Staff
The Catholic Sentinel’s Katie Scott reports on the importance of HB2508 for Catholic Charities and other resettlement agencies as well as for the refugee community in Oregon. Read the full article at the Catholic Sentinel.
Catholic Charities agency staff welcomes refugees at Portland International Airport

The Immigrant Story - Dr. Baher Butti

Posted By | Barb Anderman
Catholic Charities of Oregon employee Dr. Baher Butti’s bloodline of activism runs strong.
Dr. Baher Butti