Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Illinois Legal Community Unites to Address Current Immigration Crisis

As new arrivals continue to come to Illinois from the U.S.-Mexico border, many Illinois legal aid organizations are assisting them to ensure they have access to the rights they are entitled to and empowering them with information.

Volunteer Opportunity in Chicago and its Impact

In partnership with the city, state and federal governments as well as many other agencies, The Resurrection Project is organizing large-scale workshops assisting newly arrived migrants with obtaining Employment Authorization and Temporary Protected Status

Below is some data on  the incredible impact of the migrant assistance workshops since this project began last November.

  • Applicants seen at workshops: 8,885
  • Times applicants attended workshops (some came back to complete the process): 10,120
  • Applicants processed by USCIS: 7,696
  • TPS/EAD applications completed by USCIS: 4,906
  • EAD-only applications completed by USCIS: 2,790
  • Adult applicants who met with and received support from Illinois workforce staff at the workshops: 3,433

The vast majority of the 7,696 applicants have or will receive work permits and social security numbers. This allowed thousands of people to find employment, and in many cases move out of shelters or other state-assisted housing.

This critical impact would not have happened without the support of the 564 legal professionals (504 attorneys and 60 paralegals/project assistants) who volunteered for 1,225 workshop shifts. These volunteers were supported by and worked alongside hundreds of staff and other volunteers under the direction of The Resurrection Project, including legal organization staff, interpreters, law students, and other volunteers.

Now, workshops are continuing through August 31st. Starting June 17th, workshops will run on Mondays and Fridays. Volunteer shifts for legal professionals are from 8:30 AM through 1:00 PM, although you are welcome to stay longer if there is a need. All workshops will take place at one location in a federal building downtown.  Your role will vary depending on your immigration law experience and whether you speak Spanish, but you need not have either experience to volunteer. Summer associates and law students are welcome. If you would like to attend as a group, please select a day and register your participants individually–the earlier you do so the more likely it is that you can all attend together.

Otherwise for more information and to volunteer please sign up here. A training link and materials will be sent to you once you sign up, and there is an on-site orientation the day of the workshop. Lunch is provided. The Resurrection Project will enter into a Limited Scope Agreement with each applicant and will provide malpractice insurance. If you have questions about volunteering contact Jane Lombardi.

Volunteer Opportunities Outside Chicago

There are also immigrants needing assistance in other areas of Illinois, as they travel beyond Chicago. The Immigration Project (TIP) has numerous pro bono opportunities in the upcoming year, many of which require only one-day commitments from attorneys as well as those with some legal expertise such as paralegals and legal assistants. TIP will provide all necessary training, and that training usually occurs the morning of or by a less than one hour call or recording distributed in advance. These meaningful opportunities will help immigrants throughout Illinois gain stability and security in their lives.

One day commitments: TIP hosts monthly naturalization clinics for clients throughout their vast service area to apply for citizenship in a one stop model. These one-day commitments are hosted on Fridays in the Normal or Champaign Office spaces. In addition to assisting those in their final step of the immigration process,  TIP is hosting Asylum and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) workshops similar to those in Chicago in various locations. TIP also travels throughout the state to assist those again through a one-day workshop model to apply for asylum and get general advice about their immigration process and claims.

Full representation pro bono opportunities: TIP is the sole legal service provider for a children’s detention center in Central Illinois. As a result of this relationship, TIP frequently represents children who are detained or recently detained who are survivors of abandonment, abuse, or neglect. These children frequently need orders from State Court judges to determine custody or guardianship orders. Pro bono attorneys can play an essential role in obtaining these orders so that these children can secure immigration relief inside of the US and gain stability in their lives, sometimes for the first time.

If you are interested in assisting TIP in any way, please email Marie Joe Noon. TIP welcomes any assistance you are able to provide given their vast service area and the desperate need of those they serve.

Posted in Pro Bono, Pro Bono Opportunities, Pro Bono Spotlights.