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ICIRR Committed to Serve Those Who Did Not Receive Services at Navy Pier

2012.08.22 Няма коментари
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August 22, 2012
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) was humbled by the number of youth who came out to Navy Pier on August 15 to seek assistance with Deferred Action applications, and we would like to issue an apology to all the undocumented youth and their parents who did not receive service that day. The 15th was just the first day to apply, not the last. And we promise to offer help to all the youth who were turned away – and the thousands of others who are still interested.

The DREAM Relief victory could not have been won without a sustained national effort, led by brave young people and families “coming out of the shadows” to tell their stories. We like to applaud the sacrifices of undocumented youth who risked arrest and deportation by organizing and participating in direct actions.

On August 15th, these youth and their families continued to make history, proving to us all that they want nothing more than to get right with the law. Illinois youth and their families also led the way nationally – three times more people came to Navy Pier than similar events in New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Boston combined.

On Wednesday, the enormous demand from the community far exceeded our capacity. Leading up to the event, we had approximately 4,000 Illinois youth registered for the event. We were able to provide 1,500 one-on-one legal consultations. Nearly 9,000 more received info sessions. We had planned for 7,500. But nearly 15,000 attended more than any other city in the nation. The line for services went from Navy Pier to Grant Park, and many went home without the assistance they wished to receive and that we hoped to provide.
We are committed to serve all undocumented youth, and we are working with our partners throughout the state to meet these needs.

Here are some ways people can get started to get the help they need:

Option 1: Begin the application process on-line. ICIRR has worked with our partner, the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), to create a free online tool where people can check their eligibility and learn more about how to assemble the application.

Option 2: Register for a GROUP HELP SESSION with an attorney. We will be hosting more than 50 of these group help sessions with attorneys over the coming weeks and months. These will be free of charge and they will be by registration only (to cut back on the long lines and waits). These will be an important first step for gathering your documents, filling out your applications, and answering your questions; but these sessions will NOT include one-on-one help with an attorney who can review your documents. If you would like to organize a Group Help Session in your neighborhood, you may contact Carrie Fox at [email protected]

Option 3: Schedule an appointment with an immigration attorney or authorized non-profit organization. If people have had any encounters with police or the justice system, or with immigration authorities, or traveled outside the US in the last five years, definitely consult with an immigration lawyer or BIA-recognized non-profit agency before you file. Even if you do not fall into these categories, we still encourage you consult with an attorney or agency to review your case. Please note that many of these appointments will cost money (as low as $50), but others do not. You can request an appointment with NIJC to review cases and documents by sending an e-mail to [email protected] There is also a full list of recommended attorneys and organizations available at dreamrelief.org. (Please note: demand for these services are high, and we are working with pro bono attorneys, BIA-accredited organizations, and NIJC to offer no cost legal review. If you know of an attorney who is interested in volunteering their time to DREAMers, we can offer them training. All interested attorneys can contact Fred Tsao at [email protected])

Finally, we ask you to stay informed and involved. The application has only been out for a few days and we are constantly working with USCIS and national partners to offer new and better ways of serving you. Updates will be made to dreamrelief.org as they happen.

The last word goes to the undocumented youth and their families. You inspire and humble us. Without your courage to come to this country, to tell your stories, and to risk deportation for what you believe in none of this would begin to be possible. We promise to continue to do the best we can to live up to your brave example.

Thank you for your patience, for your courage, and for your commitment to the immigrant community.

ICIRR encourages people to visit dreamrelief.org for information on upcoming workshops and for the latest information on deferred action.

ICIRR would also like to thank our generous sponsors abcomrents.com, Univision, DePaul, Loyola, IIT, Devry, UIC and all of our sponsors who made the event possible.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.
For more information, visit www.icirr.org.

At Navy Pier Wednesday (August 15) , hundreds of people affected by the DREAM Relief Act lined up for assistance from attorneys in getting their work permits, at an event sponsored by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Up to 1,500 applicants were processed on Wednesday. Thousands more were turned away because there wasn’t enough room or time to sign them all up.

Undocumented students line up early at Navy Pier to apply for deferred action to stay and study in the United States legally.(Photo: John H. White,Sun-Times)

On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration announced that it would offer many DREAM Act-eligible youth temporary relief through “deferred action.” The memorandum offers hope to many eligible young adults by providing the opportunity to live and work in the US lawfully. The State of Illinois is home to over 75,000 DREAM Act-eligible youth.
The program provides protection from deportation for two years, but does not offer a path to citizenship or legal permanent resident status. It’s all part of an executive action taken by President Barack Obama after the DREAM Act — which provided similar benefits to young illegal immigrants, plus a path to citizenship or legal resident status — failed to pass in Congress.

Youths must meet five criteria to qualify for deferred action:
Ø They must have come to the US before they turned 16;
Ø They must have been born after June 15, 1981;
Ø They must have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007, and must have been present in the US on June 15, 2012;
Ø They must currently be in school, have received a high school diploma or GED, or been honorably discharged from the US Armed Forces or the Coast Guard;
Ø They must not have been convicted of a felony, a “significant misdemeanor,” multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. Anyone applying for deferred action would need to go through a criminal background check.
Visit www.dreamrelief.org for more information
People can also call ICIRR’s family support hotline at 1-855-HELP-MY-FAMILY for information.

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