Volunteer Citizenship Team Training Sept 14

Join us on Saturday, September 14 and learn more about being a volunteer as a member of the Volunteer Citizenship Team.  One of our rewarding programs is to help any Legal Permanent Resident (i.e., “green card” holder) to naturalize (become a U.S. citizen).  We inform them of the process and how we can help; we process their paperwork–complete and review their applications–and forward it to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.  Then we follow them through the process from fingerprinting to exam/interview to oath ceremony.  If an in-state client’s case qualifies under a grant program called the New Americans Initiative, we provide this assistance for only $10 per person because the grant funds the rest of the processing cost.

The Volunteer Citizenship Team is crucial to all phases of this process and works directly with clients (if desired) or does follow-up case management database work or helps with outreach efforts.  This team volunteers in our home office in Bloomington but serves clients all over downstate Illinois through phone, email, or Skype.  We ask for an average of two hours per week and are very flexible with your schedule (within the normal daytime work hours).  There are occasional Saturday opportunities.

We are aiming to have at least 12 committed persons –50% students and 50% community residents.  We also are looking for a language mix of about 60% only English speaking; about 30% bilingual English/Spanish, and about 10% bilingual English/French.  We will have an overview from 9-10 a.m.  If you decide this volunteer opportunity is a good fit for you, stick around for the 3-hour training (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.).  We will provide light refreshments!

Contact Volunteer Coordinator Christine Howe at chowe@immigrationproject.org or at 309.829.8703.


New U.S. Citizen in Sterling, IL

RutiliaI want to let you know why I decide to become a US citizen.

Two years ago, when I moved to Sterling, IL, I started to hear about places where I could get help to become a citizen. I decided to go to the Sauk Valley Community College to begin the process through the Immigration Project.

Lastly, on June 21, 2013 I became a citizen of the United States. I am very proud and happy for having obtained my citizenship after many years of wising to do it. The most important motive to become a citizen is that I can have more rights and responsibilities in this country. Some of the most important ones are for example to vote to elect the person to lead my country, to show my loyalty and to contribute to make this country better.


Thank You, Marti Jones, for 10 years of service to Immigration Project

The farewell party for Executive Director Marti Jones was held on June 29. It was a fitting event, with staff, board members, and volunteers attending to show their appreciation for all Marti has done for the Immigration Project over the past ten years. We will miss her, and we all wish her the very best in her future endeavors.



$10,000 = $30,000

Thanks to all our wonderful supporters and donors, we met our match for the grant! We more than reached our $10,000 goal by June 30.  As a result, the Lawyers Trust Fund awarded a $20,000 matching grant. This funding is crucial to enabling us to keep serving the immigrant community for this coming year. Our success in fundraising led to another matching grant for this coming year from the Lawyers Trust Fund, a 1:1 matching grant for $10,000. We are delighted, not only with the monies we were able to raise, but with the trust and support it means we have from our communities!

IP at West Side Block Party

Immigration Project representatives will staff a booth at the West Side Block Party in Bloomington on Saturday, August 10.  Stop by from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to pick up flyers and business cards.  We will also answer general questions.  If you need legal advice, call us on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to schedule a free consultation.

The event will be held at First Christian Church at 401 West Jefferson in Bloomington, Illinois.

Access to Justice Hearings Scheduled

You are invited to attend one of the regional Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice Listening Conference for the Fourth and Fifth Appellate Districts.  Issues such as language barriers, limited access to information, restricted access to low-income legal services, special vulnerabilities to fraud and abuse, etc. present significant barriers for our immigrant communities.  Please join us at the Immigration Project in attending one of these meetings to make certain our communities are represented on these issues.

View invitation to May 30 hearing in Champaign.

View invitation to June 5th hearing in Edwardsville.

Both events will be held from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.   Space is limited.  To secure your seat, RSVP to atjcommission@court.state.il.us

Not-Quite-Cinco-de-Mayo Party a Blast

Guests at our May 3 fundraiser enjoyed eating tamales, drinking margaritas, and listening to musiClaudia and guestc by the Latin band, Los Explosivos. Attendees included such important persons in our legal community as Prairie State Legal Services managing attorney Adrian Barr; retired Judge Don Bernardi; family attorney Helen Ogar; and Illinois People’s Action executive director and lead organizers Don and Dawn Carlson. This important fundraiser helped to celebrate the work we do helping immigrants in Bloomington and throughout Central and Southern Illinois.guests5Cristina Laurie guests4guests

Immigration Project Highlighted in Pantagraph Article

Read what Edith Brady-Lunny reported in the Pantagraph about the Immigration Project.

“Optimism high for success of immigration reform measure”

Chicago Fundraising Event a Veritable Who’s Who

The April 4 fundraiser was a veritable Who’s Who of Chicago immigration legal services.  Those in attendance showed up to recognize our honorees Craig Mousin and Susan Schreiber as well as to celebrate our work in Central and Southern Illinois.  Attendees included:

  • Ed Silverman, Director of the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Refugee and Immigrant Services division (and the direct supervisor of both the Refugee and Immigrant Citizenship Initiative and the New Americans Initiative);
  • Ruth Ann Schmidt, Executive Director of the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois;
  • Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director of the National Immigrant Justice Center; and
  • Fred Tsao from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

In addition, several prominent Chicago immigration attorneys attended the event as well as other representatives from the non-profit funding sector, such as Tara Magner from the MacArthur Foundation.

Proposed Immigration Reform Bill Not Law Yet

The American Immigration Lawyers Association cautions immigrants about possible notario fraud.  View the public service announcement in English or Spanish.

Read the proposed bill, “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act