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Headshot of Tabitha Hooten

Tabitha Hooten

  • Hosted by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
  • Sponsored by Disaster Resilience Program
  • Service location Houston, Texas
  • Law school South Texas College of Law Houston
  • Issue area Disaster Recovery, Disaster Response and Preparedness
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Disaster Resilience Program

The Project

Tabitha Hooten (she/her/hers) will work with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston: St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance to provide civil legal aid and develop disaster resiliency for Afghan, Ukrainian, and other immigrants newly arrived in the Greater Houston area.

The primary goal of this project will be direct representation of Afghan nationals, Ukrainian nationals, recent arrivals through the Southern border, or other immigrants experiencing humanitarian or national crises. The need for accurate legal information and pro bono representation is far greater than the capacity of existing resources. Many immigration options are time-sensitive and urgent, and immigrants may forfeit their legal rights while they seek or wait for representation. The target client population will be immigrants who have experienced man-made or natural disasters and who currently reside in the Greater Houston area.

Fellowship Plans

As part of the project, Tabitha will directly represent clients before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of Homeland Security, and/or Immigration Court and help clients to apply for Special Immigrant Visas, Temporary Protected Status, asylum, family-based visas, adjustment of status, or any other immigration relief for which they are eligible. In addition, Tabitha will serve as a Cabrini liaison with pro bono attorneys, volunteers, and local stakeholders on this project, with an aim to build collaboration across these groups. The fellowship is further designed to develop pro se legal assistance workshop models to better serve clients across these groups.

Inspiration

Tabitha became passionate about this work after serving alongside other attorneys to provide relief for Afghans impacted by the collapse of their government. She attended law school with the hope of serving those rendered defenseless. Tabitha seeks to provide help to those in great need of assistance in the greater Houston area.

“When I attended law school, I knew that I wanted to use my license to be a voice for the voiceless. I’m overjoyed to be a part of Catholic Charities because their focus is on serving those in need.”

Tabitha Hooten /
2023 Disaster Resilience Program Fellow

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