Excerpted from a Pantagraph article by Edith Brady-Lunny.
A law degree may not be required to decipher confusing federal immigration laws, but it doesn’t hurt to have one. Marti Jones, executive director of The Immigration Project, and three staff attorneys, help immigrants in 87 Illinois counties navigate the rules that govern how long and under what conditions a person can live in the United States.
The territory south of Interstate 80 is home to about 100,000 immigrants, or about 5 percent of the state’s immigrant population, said Jones. Statistics available for the first six months of 2012 show the agency provided counseling and immigration advice to 546 individuals.
While illegal immigrants who cross into the U.S. without permission are among those helped, the project also assisted people from 48 countries in 2011, with the largest single group coming from Mexico, Jones recently in the project’s Bloomington office. She said calls for assistance spike with two conditions: “When people think there’s a path to legal status or something changes in their lives” that could impact their status.