Upcoming SCOTUS Ruling Will Affect Millions of Families

For Immediate Release

The Immigration Project along with the 5 million immigrants across the nation await the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Texas expected to be announced on June 23, June 27, or June 30.

President Obama’s immigration executive actions, introduced in November 2014, would expand upon the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program from 2012 and create DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and lawful permanent residents). Both initiatives were delayed after 26 state governors came forward with a lawsuit stating President Obama overstepped his executive power by implementing such programs.

Expanded DACA and DAPA would potentially impact the welfare of thousands of families in central and southern Illinois. These proposed actions offer deferred deportation for immigrants that have strong familial ties to the U.S. and have been living here for years. DACA and DAPA eligible immigrants also receive a work permit that must be renewed every 3 years.

On the day the Supreme Court announces its decision, the Immigration Project will be hosting an informational meeting at 5:00 p.m. The location is to be determined. Immigrants interested in learning more about the next steps after the Supreme Court’s decision are welcome to join. For more information about the meeting, contact Christine Howe at (309) 829-8703 ext. 105.

Successful First Round of Downstate Community Navigators/Liaisons Trainings

100MEDIA$IMAG1439Christine Howe going over introductions on Day One

In an effort to build more downstate resources for immigrants, which in turn empowers communities, the Immigration Project held the first downstate Community Liaison and Navigators trainings at the beginning of April. For those who haven’t heard of Community Navigators or Liaisons (“Promotores and Intermediadores” in Spanish), they are people who typically already have frequent contact with immigrant populations within their own jobs or leisure activities.  The first half of the training provides explanation and information about immigration law and resources, which enhances one’s ability to connect immigrants to legal service providers, social service organizations, and government representatives. They learn who can and cannot give legal advice and what constitutes ‘legal advice’, helping to fight against what is called ‘notario fraud’ (a plague of unauthorized persons wrongfully completing immigration application forms or dispensing incorrect or incomplete advice about the legal system).  Those who want to become Navigators stay for additional training in form and document preparation, to be completed only under the supervision of attorneys. Tasks of Navigators and Liaisons range from helping clients get utility or school records, to explaining requirements for some immigration programs, to helping clients complete applications.

IMAG1451Luis Huerta-Silva conducting the Community Navigators/Liaisons training on Day One

With the help of Luis Huerta-Silva from ICIRR (Illinois Coalition forImmigrant and Refugee Rights) in Chicago, the trainings took place in our home office on April 1-2.  Nineteen individuals attended, from McLean County, Champaign, Peoria,LaSalle and Springfield. Some were health partnership personnel (including a surgeon and medical student), others ESL teachers in school systems, and four were our own volunteers!  Fifteen completed Day One Liaison training and 9 of those 15 went on to become certified Navigators at the end of training the next day. After a successful initial Community Navigator and Liaison Training and with enthusiasm running high, preparations are being made to conduct additional trainings in Champaign and Normal this summer, including teacher in-services with the two local school districts in McLean County.  As soon as groundwork is laid, we can expand to Peoria, Springfield and Kankakee, then further downstate.

Download$1782The trainers from left to right: Luis Huerta-Silva, Christine Howe, Charlotte Alvarez

Community Navigators and Liaisons are crucial to increasing the ability of Immigration Project to serve our 86-county area, where we are the lone non-profit legal immigration service provider with immigration attorneys on staff. With their outreach efforts, more immigrants can hear of our services.  With their new knowledge of certain requirements, forms and documentation, cases can be completed more quickly.  Another by-product of expanding resources is that our staff will be able to take on more complicated cases that are more time-consuming and attorney-demanding. Community Navigators and Liaisons guide and support clients at every step of their legal journey allowing our attorneys to focus on filing applications. We have high hopes for this program to increase our current ability to serve more immigrants, and sense even more urgency as we await the Supreme Court decision by June of whether or not President Obama’s 2014 executive actions regarding DAPA and expanded DACA are constitutional.  If they decide ‘yes’ then DACA-expanded should go into effect nearly immediately and DAPA just a few months later.  Of the many thousands of immigrants in downstate Illinois who will be eligible for these two programs, we expect over 16,000 could seek our help.

1783_2The first nine downstate Community Navigators holding their certificates at the end of Day Two

Partners and Clinics | Piktochart Infographic Editor

For a look into the various locations we’ve traveled this past year click on the image below.

Partners and Clinics (2)

Source: Partners and Clinics | Piktochart Infographic Editor

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