Immigration Project News

Immigration Project featured on WSIL TV in Carbondale

WSIL filmed Christine Howe, our Citizenship Coordinator, while she conducted a citizenship information meeting in Carbondale last month.  Read the article and view the video.

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 or at 309.829.8703.


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.

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.

May 19 Fundraiser

Join us for a Wine & Tapas Tasting party on Sunday, May 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Trenton House Restaurant at 2 East Broadway in Trenton, IL (see map below).

Tickets are $20 per person and includes tapas (appetizers), samples of a variety of wines, and non-alcoholic beverages (soda, iced tea & coffee).

Knowledgeable representatives will pour the samples and answer your wine questions.

For ticket information, call (618) 444-5934 or email

All proceeds will benefit the Immigration Project.  The Lawyer’s Trust Fund of Illinois will donate $2 for every new $1 donated to the Project by June 30, 2013.

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May 3 Fundraiser

Date:  Friday, May 3

Time:  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Location:  Coffee Nation, 3907 GE Road (GE Road and Towanda Barnes Road) in Bloomington

Enjoy margaritas and tamales as you listen to Latin music by the band Los Explosivos

Admission:  $35

Tickets at the door OR contact Laurie Bergner at (309) 454-3113 or

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