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Community Navigator Newsletter

 



 

 Message from the Community Navigator Intern



 

HAPPY EARLY VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION WEEK NAVIGATORS! On behalf of The Immigration Project, we would like to thank you all for all of your handwork and the hours that you guys put into the work that you do. You may not know it, but the work that you do goes a long way and helps not the only The Immigration Project but many of the people that work with us. Again, thank you for all of your help. You guys are VERY MUCH APPRECIATED! :) 

 

OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP

 


Normal
- Citizenship Workshop - April 5th
- Clinic - April 25th
- Clinic - May 16th
- Citizenship Workshop - May 24th

Champaign
- Clinic: April 4th
- Clinic: May 10th
- Citizenship Workshop - May 17th



Please contact v.volunteers@immigrationproject.org for more information on these opportunities 
 

 

 Venezuela  Potentially Designated as a TPS Country


 

Venezuela was once known as one of the richest nations within South Americans primarily because of the large amounts of oil within the country. As of today, Venezuela no longer holds the status as being one of the wealthiest South American countries because the economy has taken a turn for the worst, and the inflation has skyrocketed. Such a horrible economic situation have largely resulted in a shortage in food and medical supplies creating a dire living environment for many Venezuelans. There have been reports of a large increase of infant and maternal mortality from previous years. Throughout this economic and humanitarian crisis, the government has largely been accused of furthering the two crises instead of helping to fix them. The current president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has been accused of corruption and torture of those who protest against the government. As a result of this situation, many Venezuelans have fled the country going to neighboring countries in South America, the Caribbean, and even the United States. It has been reported that about 150,000 Venezuelans are residing within the U.S.. Because of the humanitarian crisis and large amount of people fleeing the country, there have been two bills that have been crafted in the House and the Senate to give Venezuelans in the U.S. Temporary Protection Status. These bills have both been a bipartisan effort by officials in Congress who believe that the violence and unlivable situations in Venezuela make it necessary for the country to be designated as a TPS country. Though the Trump Administration has been very adamant about drawing back some of the TPS protections, many in Congress believe that the bill could potentially be something the administration would support as it would further state that the government is not in support of the current situation in government in Venezuela.

Source: Human Rights Watch


Los Angeles District Attorney Office Convicts Notario Frauds in new Fraud Unit



During the very first training for Community Navigators, navigators learn about a group of people called notarios. Notarios are people who claim to be attorneys or legal representatives that can help with immigrant cases. Often these notarios will not have any type of legal license in the U.S. and will scam many immigrants out of their money by promising to help them. Some immigrants have even been deported because of notarios according to Vox News. Though some immigrants may realize that the notarios they encounter are not real lawyers and are engaging in fraudulent practices, they may be reluctant to report the notarios because these notarios have all of their information. The presence of notarios has been an ongoing problem within the Los Angeles area, which has lead the District’s Attorney Office to create a specific group of people to target those who commit notario fraud. These new resources have been able to help prosecute those involved in notario fraud in eight cases since 2017. Those involved in these eight cases have been said to take over three million dollars from 300 immigrants. Recently, the Fraud Unit has convicted two notarios by the names of Romina Zadorian and Gregory Chavez. Both of these notarios have accumulated over $600,000 from engaging in notario fraud and have been convicted to serve fifteen years in prison. Before the unit was created, there were not many resources allocated to fight against notario fraud allowing many notarios to go unpunished. Fortunately the unit has created much more of a sense of justice served against all those who cheat immigrants out of their money with notario fraud.

Source: VOX



New Bill that could Provide a New Path to Citizenship



With Administrative Relief programs like DACA and TPS, it is well noted that those who are recipients are not on a path to citizenship. Those under these program have the benefit of potentially receiving a work permit and have been been given deferred action status meaning they have a much stronger sense of security from deportation, but they would still be no step closer to becoming a citizen though they may spend many years within the U.S.. The Democrat dominated House wants to change this with a new bill they plan to bring forward that they believe could allow two million immigrants to apply for citizenship including Dreamers and those in the U.S. under temporary permits such as TPS recipients. The bill would offer two distinct paths for Dreamers and those under temporary permits that included access to green cards and a path to citizenship. In the case of Dreamers, the bill would allow Dreamers to apply for a ten year conditional green card given that the Dreamer was under the age of seven upon arrival into the U.S. and had been in the U.S. for four years. After two or three years or with the conditional green card, Dreamers would be able to apply for a full green card depending on whether they have been in the military, school, or have worked. Those with temporary status would be able to immediately apply for a green card unlike the Dreamers. After having a green card for five years, Dreamer and those under temporary status would be able to apply for citizenship. Though there has been bipartisan support for this bill, many are worried about whether or not the Trump Administration and others within Congress would be willing to support the bill. There have been many efforts to have some form of an immigration bill passed, but often there is much disagreement on bills and so many changes that the bills often end up not being passed. With a Democrat dominated House and bipartisan support for their bill, the bill may have a fighting chance.

Source: The Washington Post



Highlight of the Month: Beth Sender






As you all know, every month we like to highlight a volunteer that has done extraordinary work. For the month of April, we  would like to highlight Beth Sender, one of our pro-bono volunteers. Beth is a retired Circuit Judge where served twenty-two years.  She is also a wife and a mother of two very accomplished daughters, Jessica and Molly. In addition to volunteering with The Immigration Project, Beth serves on many committee including the Character and Fitness Committee. Much of Beth's work during her career and her work now was not very focused immigration law, but she felt she could use her legal knowledge to help in a new way with an organization that needed extra help. Beth has spent most of her time at The Immigration Project working on DACA renewals and Adjustment of  Status cases. She has described her time as a volunteer as being an experience where she is "always learning something new." Now she understands much more how complex immigration law is and how overwhelming the process can be for clients. In spite the complexities and and how overwhelming the process can be, Beth believes the staff that she works with does an amazing job helping to quell the frustration and fear a client may feel. Like the staff, Beth to has played an active role in helping clients with her volunteer work The Immigration Project, so we would again like to thank her for all the work she has done.





 

 

The Involuntarily Volunatary Humanitarian Return of Migrants in Libya



 

With both the migrant and political crisis in Libya and a huge increase in the number of migrants from countries throughout Africa and even the Middle East who brave the internationals waters in hopes of reaching Europe to live a better life, the European Union (EU) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have been focusing their efforts on “voluntary” return programs. These program named Voluntary Humanitarian Return give migrants who are detained in Libya an option to return home safely. IOM and the EU have been providing flights for many of the migrants who have opted to participate in this program. Not only is their assistance with transportation back to their country of origin, but migrants also are supposed to receive additional support from IOM in the form of medical and housing supports as well as support with micro businesses and education. Additionally, there are further services that help to ensure successful reintegration into their communities. IOM and the EU’s joint volunteer program may appear to some as successful and effective strategy, but there are many migrants and organizations like the Human Rights Watch who believe these efforts are not enough. Human Right Watch questions how voluntarily such programs are. Many of the migrants who opt to participate in these programs are often participating, according to Human Right Watch, because of the horrible living conditions and violence they face as detainees in the centers in Libya. For many people, leaving the centers is their only option to have some form of safety even if it means returning from the country they hoped to escape. Human Rights Watch see such limited options as not being voluntary in the true sense of the word. Of course, people would rather go back to their country with some newfound benefits rather than stay in unlivable conditions where they can potentially face violence. 
     
See and hear first hand what voluntary humanitarian looks like