Lawyer helps immigrants untangle federal laws

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.

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Programs help young immigrants find future in U.S.

Excerpted from a Pantagraph article by Edith Brady-Lunny.

Edgar Celis wants to attend community college, join the Marines, and give Microsoft a run for its money as an independent businessman.

But the first order of business for the 18-year-old Normal Community West High School graduate is an application he recently completed for President Barack Obama’s initiative that allows young, illegal immigrants the chance to defer possible deportation for two years.

Celis was among more than 90 applicants to receive help with their paperwork for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program last week at a program sponsored by The Immigration Project at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center.

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Open house an introduction for Immigration Project

An open house at The Immigration Project in Bloomington on Friday drew about 50 people who were interested in using or possibly volunteering for the nonprofit legal service agency.  The Immigration Project moved from Granite City to 510 E. Washington St., Bloomington, in October 2008 in order to better serve its territory, 86 Illinois counties south of Interstate 80. Executive Director Marti Jones said the open house was organized to introduce the community to the agency, which offers help with citizenship applications among other services.

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