Archives for May 2016

C-U Wine Tasting and Silent Auction Fundraiser

On Thursday April 21st, the Immigration Project hosted its first fundraiser in the Champaign-Urbana area since opening a satellite office in Champaign. Guests enjoyed a wine tasting, silent auction, and raffle at the Urbana Civic Center. More than 50 people were in attendance including local Judge Blockman, attorneys, social service agencies such as ECIRMAC, University of Illinois professors and students, community leaders, and previous clients.

Most of the auction items were donated by local businesses and artists such as Pekara Bakery, DESTIHL, Columbia Street Roastery, Uniquely Eclectic, Joel Bergner, and Laurie Bergner. A majority of the food was also donated by Dos Reales, Red Herring, and Rick’s Bakery. The wine was graciously donated by Martin Perry and poured by Hendrick House.

With live Latin guitar in the background, courtesy of Derik Cordoba, guests mingled with IP staff and Board. Rebekah Niblock told a heartfelt story about one of her clients finally being reunited with their family after years of waiting. By the end of the evening, guests had learned more about the agency’s great work and why they had gathered there that night. The event brought in close to $4,500!

Thank you to everyone that helped make this fundraiser a reality! Since opening an office in Champaign, the IP has been warmly welcomed by the C-U community. So thank you- we appreciate your support!

IP attorney on Immigration TV

Volunteer Highlight: Jordan Debo


Meet Jordan Debo- one of our volunteers that primarily translates our French documents into English and vice versa. We asked him some questions about himself and his time volunteering with us. Thanks Jordan!
DSCN0855Where are you from?

Jordan: From Normal

Where do you currently work?

J: Graduate assistant at ISU

How long have you volunteered with us?

J: 3 months or so

Why do you volunteer with the IP?

J: Do something to help people and be able to use my French

What is your favorite memory volunteering here?

J: Hearing a client who was super excited to finally be able to attend the oath ceremony after the whole application process.

U.S. Veteran Becomes a U.S. Citizen

sal pic-page-005Saul Albanán Navarrete was one of our New Americans Initiative (NAI) clients that we helped naturalize last year. Saul has lived in the U.S. for over 27 years and served in the U.S. Armed Forces as a Colonel. He received a medal of honor for his service at his oath ceremony. He wrote his case worker, Christine Howe, these beautiful letters expressing his gratitude and outlining his experience at the oath ceremony. We just had to share his kind words and excitement!



saul albarran-page-0017-20-15


I am writing you this letter to thank you for your valuable help, so that I could get citizenship. On Friday, the 17th of July, I went to Rock Island and achieved what I had yearned for, for so long. Glory to God and to you all. I am already a citizen of another country, with fills me with great pride, joy, and satisfaction. I am asking a favor of you, that you would extend my gratitude to all of your companions that cooperated to help achieve this, which I have dreamed of. I hope that Gods blesses you and everyone else and that you are always fulfilled and joyous.

Saul Albanán Navarrete

            DePue, IL               Thank you!

DePue, Il     12-15

Christi:saul all-page-001

I greet you with much care and affection and wholeheartedly hope that when you receive this letter that you are free of problems and that you are always full of happiness. I am responding to your kind letter and am sending you what you have asked of me. At the swearing-in ceremony we didn’t take pictures, because we didn’t bring a camera nor did we bring a cell phone to take them, thinking that maybe they weren’t permitted. But I sent you a similar photo that appears in my Certificate of Citizenship, I hope that you will excuse it because I am very old!

Also, I am sending copies of some documents that they gave to us on this glorious day! One of the happiest days of my life, and one I will never forget, and thank you again Cristi! I hope that God will bless you for the rest of your life. Take care and I hope that you’ll always be successful in all your future endeavors.

                                I am happy…

Saul Albanán Navarrete

P.S. Also, I sent you a copy of my medal of honor, that he gave me (in the ceremony), a Colonel of the Armed Forces of the United States, for my records. Near perfect! (he said) that I’ve had in this country, from the time I arrived 27 years ago.

sal pic-page-001 (2)sal pic-page-001Copies of Saul’s medal of honor.


sal pic-page-004
Naturalization Ceremony Program

sal pic-page-003Congratulatory letter from President Obama.

sal pic-page-002Information on Citizen’s rights and responsibilities.




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