Casa Cornelia Law Center (CCLC) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm providing quality legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations. Casa Cornelia has a primary commitment to indigent persons within the immigrant community in Southern California. It seeks to educate others regarding the impact of immigration law and policy on the community and the public good. The mission and spirit of Casa Cornelia is rooted in the tradition of service of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and that of its founder, Cornelia Connelly. It encompasses the belief that God has chosen to need men and women in every age to reveal God's love and to make known the reality of God's saving presence through their service to others. Casa Cornelia seeks to foster a spirit of simplicity, honesty, kindness, and cheerfulness among colleagues and with those served. It has chosen Thomas More as the exemplar of these qualities to mark its practice of law.
Casa Cornelia Law Center (CCLC) was founded when the leadership of the American Province of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (a community of religious sisters in the Roman Catholic tradition) requested that Ann M. Durst, a member of the Society and an attorney, explore the possibility of founding Casa Cornelia as a contemporary mission serving those in need throughout the southwest of the United States of America.
Sister Ann conducted a study along the Mexican-American border to determine the need for legal services among the immigrant community. She traveled to Brownsville, TX, El Paso, TX, Albuquerque, NM, Tucson, AZ and San Diego, CA. It became clear to her that San Diego, the busiest land border crossing in the world, was the place to begin. On August 1, 1992, she was joined by Mary Wayne Gradon from the European Province of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and they signed the lease that made Casa Cornelia a reality in San Diego, California.
Today, the need for Casa Cornelia’s pro bonolegal services remains. Each year there are more children crossing the San Diego/Tijuana border. Victims of domestic violence continue to contact Casa Cornelia seeking safety for themselves and their children. And, as conflict worldwide evolves, so do the number of asylum seekers pursuing freedom from persecution. They hope to alleviate these injustices using their training as lawyers and their passion for serving those in need.
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