In 1988, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) established CLINIC as a legally distinct 501(c)(3) organization to support a rapidly growing network of community-based immigration programs. CLINIC's network originally comprised 17 programs. It has since increased to 176 diocesan and other affiliated immigration programs with 290 field offices in 48 states. The network employs roughly 1,200 attorneys and "accredited" paralegals who, in turn, serve 600,000 low-income immigrants each year. CLINIC and its member agencies represent low-income immigrants without reference to their race, religion, gender, ethnic group, or other distinguishing characteristics.