Monday, August 8, 2016

Now Seeking Nominations For The 3rd Annual Immigrant Welcome Awards

Press Release/PSA
For Immediate Release
August 3, 2016

For media inquiries, contact:
Megan Flowers, Secretary Officer for the CU Immigration Forum

CU Immigration Forum Now Seeking Nominations For
The 3rd Annual Immigrant Welcome Awards



The CU Immigration Forum is currently accepting nominations from the general public in consideration of the individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions, taken risks, and have provided leadership for the wellbeing and success of immigrants in Champaign County. The CU Immigration Forum will accept nominations for the following award categories through August 22, 2016. After the nominations have closed, a specially formed committee will select the award winners. The award recipients will be officially recognized at the 3rd Annual Immigrant Friendly Awards Ceremony & Celebration on the afternoon of Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the Urbana Free Library, 210 E. Green Street, Urbana, Illinois. A finalized program is to be announced.

To nominate, please fill out the short nominations forum using the following link: https://docs.google.com/a/universityymca.org/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSelZ4DCPF0NRlzJ9Jxe1HXGr8uCBOYTvQmGJidJXzsCLnCV1A/viewform

The following categories of distinguished recognition include:

  • Distinguished Service Award – An individual who has demonstrated long-term commitment to the local immigrant community
  • Leadership Award – An individual who has been a strong leader in the immigrant community
  • Student Leadership Award - A student who has shown promise as an important leader in immigration issues, locally or beyond
  • Community Organization Award – A Nonprofit or community-based organization, which demonstrates exceptional commitment to serving and advocating for local immigrants
  • Institutional Award - Local government or other large community institution, which has made significant changes in response to the growing immigrant population
  • Business Leadership Award (Any business) - A business that contributes to the local immigrant community through advocacy, donations or in-kind services
  • Business Leadership Award (An Immigrant Owned Business)- A business that contributes to the local immigrant community through advocacy, donations or in-kind services and/or a locally owned immigrant owned business that has contributed to the local economic development of CU

This event is part of Welcoming Week (September 16-25), a national week of events that works to bring communities bring together, immigrants and U.S.-born residents, in a spirit of unity and to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone – including new Americans. In the Fall of 2015, the cities of Champaign and Urbana have signed a joint proclamation last year declaring September 24 officially Immigrant Welcome Awards Day.

The CU Immigration Forum is proud to recognize and celebrate the contributions of individuals and organizations that have created a welcoming atmosphere for immigrants in Champaign County. For more information about the event including past award recipients, visit: www.cuimmigrationforum.org.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

CU Immigration Forum Statement: SCOTUS Ruling Defers the Dream for Millions of Immigrants

Press Release
For Immediate Release
June 23, 2016

For media inquiries, contact: Ricardo Diaz, CU Immigration Forum
Phone: 217-979-0255
Email: info@cuimmigrationforum.org

SCOTUS Ruling Defers the Dream

for Millions of Immigrants

The CU Immigration Forum expresses its regret over today’s Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Texas. The court has, in a 4-4 ruling, deferred the implementation of President Obama’s initiatives of expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans). In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, the CU Immigration Forum still encourages all immigrants looking for an immigration remedy to schedule a legal consultation with The Immigration Project, a non-profit immigration law firm based in Normal, Illinois with an office in Champaign, Illinois. The Immigration Project’s four licensed immigration attorneys screen immigrants for other forms of immigration relief.

The Immigration Project and the CU Immigration Forum are hosting an informational meeting on Thursday, June 30, 2016 starting at 5:30pm at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in the fellowship hall (downstairs) at 2200 Philo Road in Urbana, Illinois. Immigrants that are interested in learning about the next steps after the Supreme Court’s decision are encouraged to attend. Free additional parking is available behind the church.  For more information about the meeting, contact the CU Immigration Forum at 217-417-5897.

Additionally, the CU Immigration Forum and The Immigration Project want to remind the public that the original DACA program from 2012 is still in effect. It provides the legal permission to work to residents who were brought to the U.S. while under the age of 16, have resided in the U.S. since 2007, were not over the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, and have pursued a form of higher education. We encourage all those who meet the requirements to come to the meeting to set up appointments to begin the application process while the 2012 DACA program is still in effect.

"The fight is not over. The Immigration Forum intends to press our elected officials for definitive legislation that will deal once and for all with this country’s longstanding immigration problems," says Tom Garza, President of the CU Immigration Forum. "Until that comes to pass, we will continue to stand with these hard working Immigrant Americans as they struggle with living their lives in the shadows, and join them in their hope for a brighter day when they will be recognized as the full partners in our communities that they have long been."

“These programs had the ability to positively impact the lives of roughly 4.3 million U.S. citizen children,” explains the Executive Director of the Immigration Project, Jasmine McGee.  “Now immigrant families remain in limbo – unauthorized to work legally but unable to leave their children alone in the U.S.  Studies show that a U.S. citizen child growing up in a household with an undocumented parent faces increased stress from the fear of having a parent deported.  In addition these children live in families with lower incomes, inferior housing, and are less likely to take advantage of community services.”

In November 2014, President Obama proposed programs that would provide the legal permission to work and protection from deportation for the parents of U.S. Citizen and lawful permanent resident children. These executive actions expanded the existing DACA from 2012 and created DAPA. Shortly after its introduction, some state governors came forward with a lawsuit and delayed the implementation of these programs. Since then, an estimated 5 million immigrants have been hoping for the start of these programs, but today their dreams for financial and emotional security for their families have been again deferred.

President Obama’s deferred action had the potential to drastically impact the well being of thousands of families in central and southern Illinois. Reports have show that families with an undocumented parent could see a 10% increase in annual income.  Furthermore, according to the Center of American Progress, these two immigration programs could have lead to the creation of almost 2,000 new jobs in Illinois and an almost $8 billion increase in cumulative income of all state residents over the next decade. Additionally, the American Immigration Council has estimated that with these programs, Illinois stood to receive an additional $347 million in tax revenue over the next five years.

In Illinois, there are an estimated 519,000 residents who are undocumented, with a portion living in Champaign County, Illinois. The majority of the undocumented population eligible for DAPA in Central and Southern Illinois have strong roots, strong family ties, and have been residing for more than ten years in the U.S.

The programs considered today by the Supreme Court were meant to alleviate immigrant families from deportation temporarily. The Supreme Court decision should impel Congress to stop putting politics over people and to enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Local residents who want to take action should call Congressman Rodney Davis at 202.225.2371 and tell him to support a just and humane immigration bill.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

April 2016 Working Group Summaries

APRIL 2016 Working Group Summaries
Secure Communities 2.0 Working Group On April 26, 2016, S.Comms 2.0 had a meeting with ICE representatives to officially record straight from the source what ICE procedures look like, to learn some of the organizational workings of ICE and on sharing grievances of community members. Where do you go to pick people up? Do you pick up unaccompanied minors? How do we report abuses? These are some of the questions we asked.  At the May 2016 Forum, a member of the working group will talk with the public about the local ICE meeting and present about facts about ICE, nationally and locally.  
Immigrant Friendly Communities Working Group
Several members of the Friendlies working group attended the Welcoming America’s Welcoming Interactive Conference from April 19 through the 21st. We made some great connections and are looking forward to convening soon to talk about what we took away from the conference and start thinking about a timeline for planning Welcoming Week. We will also receive an invitation to attend an interagency retreat slated for June 11, 2016, which is organized by Latino Partnership of Champaign County in partnership with CU Immigration Forum. We plan to meet at the beginning of the summer to continue the work that we would like to be funded next year by the Gateways for Growth grant. We will plan to meet at the beginning of the summer to move forward with building and implementing welcoming strategies locally.
Unaccompanied Minors Working Group
Challenges continue with difficulty in gathering information and coordinating social services for unaccompanied minors to get health care, receive food during school breaks and concern expressed with summer approaching. We have recently decided to start setting aside a time that works for the students to meet during school lunch and study hall once a month to assist students with ongoing casework. We still need volunteers to assist with driving students to Chicago. We also need to find reliable and honest Q'anjob'al translators. We have verified that immigration court does not provide translators for Asylum court/interviews so all of the students applying for asylum will need to hire a translator for their interview.
IF Student & Volunteer Group
The IF Student & Volunteer group is planning another KYR workshop to take place in Champaign at the end of June 2016. The Children's Orpheum is willing to provide private space at that time. Once we have the date set we will start outreach activities. We will be building upon the workshop by following up with the families at the two workshops to provide an opportunity to survey and outline patterns of issues that families discuss. We will also identify and reach out to gatekeepers to build relationships and identify issues. This will lay the groundwork to organize communities in fighting ICE raids and mapping out concerns that will greatly inform establishing and implementing welcoming strategies locally.


If you are interested in joining a working group of the CU Immigration Forum, please contact us at info@cuimmigrationforum.org or send us a message on Facebook. The CU Immigration Forum also hosts monthly forums on the second Tuesday of every month at 5:00pm at the University YMCA. ALL are welcome to attend.

March 2016 Working Group Summaries

Secure Communities 2.0 Working Group
The S-Comm 2.0 group this past week had a visit from Virginia Raymond, an attorney in Austin, TX working in detention centers. This was part of a project with U of I students organized by Gilberto Rosas and Kora Maldonado. Alli and a few volunteers spoke with workers at the hog plant in Rantoul, several of them described incidents of ICE forcing themselves into homes early in the morning, sometimes at the wrong address, and searching through rooms, including children's rooms. We're trying to set up a meeting with ICE that will probably be in late April.

Immigrant Friendly Communities Working Group
The group has been incorporating the more than one story card game at the beginning of each monthly forum and encouraging structures that support discussion and dialogue at these forums. Several members of the Friendlies working group will be attending Welcoming America’s Welcoming Interactive Conference from April 19 through the 21st. We look forward to bringing back new connections, strategies and tactics to move the work forward. We will also receive an invitation to attend an interagency retreat slated for June 11, 2016, which is organized by Latino Partnership of Champaign County in partnership with CU Immigration Forum. We plan to meet at the beginning of the summer to continue the work that we would like to be funded next year by the Gateways for Growth grant. We will plan to meet at the beginning of the summer to move forward with building and implementing welcoming strategies locally.

Unaccompanied Minors Working Group
The Unaccompanied Minors Working Group has been working hard to assist unaccompanied students with legal representation, transportation to court hearings in Chicago, to connect students to community services. This past month, Alli and Lucia have taken students to Chicago several times. Challenges continue with difficulty in gathering information and coordinating social services for unaccompanied minors to get health care, receive food during school breaks and concern expressed with summer approaching. We have made a connection with a pro bono attorney to assist in establishing guardianship, so that students receive better coordination of services. The issue is largely handing over the responsibilities of sponsors who neglect student needs. We’ve also coordinated volunteers from La Linea to resource map legal firms who specialize in asylum and deportation defense. The group continues to work with Immigration Project for students to receive initial consultations for possible representation.

IF Student & Volunteer Group
This working group has been collaborating with the Secure Communities 2.0 working group to help promote and organize the Know Your Rights workshop held in Rantoul this past month. The student/volunteer group met to organize the KYR workshop, coordinate volunteers, and reach out to families about the workshop. We will be building upon the workshop by following up with the families at the two workshops to provide an opportunity to survey and outline patterns of issues that families discuss. We will also identify and reach out to gatekeepers to build relationships and identify issues. This will lay the groundwork to organize communities in fighting ICE raids and mapping out concerns that will greatly inform establishing and implementing welcoming strategies locally.

If you are interested in joining a working group of the CU Immigration Forum, please contact us at info@cuimmigrationforum.org or send us a message on Facebook. The CU Immigration Forum also hosts monthly forums on the second Tuesday of every month at 5:00pm at the University YMCA. ALL are welcome to attend.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Statement Against Racist Backlash on the UIUC campus

As an organization dedicated to creating a community that is more inclusive and immigrant friendly, the CU Immigration Forum would like to take this opportunity to condemn the provocative chalk writings that have been appearing around the campus recently, and their blatantly anti-feminist, Muslim, Black, and Latin@ sentiments, as well as the racist Facebook group which also surfaced around the same time.

As its name suggests, the CU Immigration Forum was created with a belief that dialogue is key to fostering communication and building ties within the community. Only through sharing our stories and creating a positive atmosphere for interaction do we create the potential for understanding one another, and so a belief in the power of speech and an open exchange of thoughts and ideas is a foundational aspect of our organization.

These writings however, pervert this process and use speech as a weapon. Their intent is to assault, and violence does not build, it only destroys, so it is the violent intent of the words that were chosen and the placement of those messages that we wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms.


We at the CU Immigration Forum believe that our community is at its best when we stand, work, and dream together, and we therefore join with the many other campus and community organizations who categorically reject these crude attempts at exclusion and intimidation.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Move For The Movement! Fundraiser To Support IF

MOVE FOR THE MOVEMENT

Dine & Dance to Support the CU Immigration Forum

[ February 27, 2016] The CU Immigration Forum (IF) invites you to come out and dance or learn how in support of their work in the community on Saturday, February 27th at the University YMCA. Attendees will enjoy an afternoon of Salsa, Bachata, and Cumbia dance instruction led by local professional Latin dance instructors, Shawn Mendez and Uli Ayala. Catered lunch will be served. 100% of the proceeds support IF’s initiative of promoting permanent and positive changes that will improve the quality of life for immigrants in our community.

The CU Immigration Forum is a community non-profit organization of immigrants, clergy, service providers, labor and business representatives, students, residents and community groups concerned about the progress of immigrants in Champaign County. Your generous contributions will directly support our grassroots organization that serves local immigrant communities and advocates for just and humane treatment of all immigrants.

Tickets are on sale now for $45 or $30 for students by online reservation or in person at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street in Champaign, IL. Please make checks payable to “CU Immigration Forum.”
To purchase a ticket online, please click this link to view the reservation form: https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/YMCAoftheUniversityofIlli/IF-FUNDRAISER.html.

Can’t make it to the event, but would like to support? You may donate to the CU Immigration Forum, by following this link to IF’s secure online donation form: http://immigration-forum.blogspot.com/p/support.html. The CU Immigration Forum is a registered 501(c)3 organization. Your gift is tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law.

Where: The event will take place at the University YMCA in the K Rooms (downstairs), located at 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois on the University of Illinois campus.

Program: The Move for the Movement fundraiser for the CU Immigration Forum will begin with catered lunch at 1:00pm followed by Salsa dance instruction from 2:00pm to 3:00pm, and closing with Bachata and Cumbia dance instruction from 3:30pm to 5:00pm.



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Apoyando Sabino, Supporting Sabino


Please consider helping, Sabino Vazquez, a wonderful wonderful member of our CU community during his battle with cancer. Por favor considere ayudar, Sabino Vazquez, un miembro mavavilloso de nuestra comunidad durante su batalla con cáncer. 

 https://www.gofundme.com/SaveSabino

Sabino Vazquez, 40 years old, the husband of Maura and father of 5 children was diagnosed with colon cancer 3 years ago. Sabino was born in Atoyac Guerrero, Mexico and came to the United States over 16 years ago. He travelled alongside his wife Maura and their 3 children. The couple had 2 more children in Champaign and their youngest is 8 years old. 

Sabino has been receiving medical treatment, but unfortunately the cancer has spread to his lungs. The health services at Carle are covered under the Community Care Program, but his medicine is not. The Vazquez family spends over $1,000 a month on his medicine and other needs that are not covered by Carle. The family holds onto hope as they search for cancer treatments that can cure Sabino's health. 

If you personally know Sabino, you understand and love his cheerful energy, optimism, and friendliness toward everyone. He strives to provide the best for his family. The cancer has certainly been a great test for Sabino and his family, but they continue to fight every day. 

We are asking our community, friends, and family to help and provide support to Sabino's family during this hardship. All of the proceeds will immediately pay for Sabino's medicine and cancer treatments. His treatments require daily expenses that are not covered. Your support for Sabino will relieve pain and help maintain the faith of his family while they still search for treatments that can save him. We are so grateful for your support and love for Sabino and his family. Thank you. 

Sabino Vázquez, hombre Mexicano de 40 años de edad, casado con Maura y padre de cinco hijos fue diagnosticado con cáncer de colon hace 3 años. Sabino es originario de Atoyac Guerrero y emigro a los Estados Unidos hace 16 años con su esposa y tres de sus hijos. Ya en Estados Unidos ellos tuvieron dos hijos mas, el mas pequeño tiene 8 años de edad. 

Desde que recibió el primer diagnostico de cáncer hace 3 años, Sabino ha estado recibiendo tratamiento medico pero desafortunadamente el cáncer se ha expandido a sus pulmones. Los servicios médicos que Sabino esta recibiendo ahora en Carle están cubiertos por el plan comunitario del hospital pero la familia de Sabino debe pagar todos los medicamentos. La familia esta gastando cerca de $1,000 mensuales entre gastos de medicamento y buscando otros métodos alternativos que les ayuden a mantener la esperanza de una curación.

Quienes lo conocen saben que Sabino es un hombre muy alegre, optimista y muy amigable aparte de ser un hombre muy trabajador quien siempre esta luchando por darle lo mejor a su familia. Esta enfermedad sin duda ha sido una gran prueba para Sabino y su familia pero el sigue luchando cada día contra ella. 

La familia de Sabino esta pidiendo ayuda y apoyo a nuestra comunidad, amigos y familiares. Todas las donaciones irán directamente para ayudar a Sabino con su tratamiento. Sabino esta sufriendo de dolores muy fuertes y la medicina para controlarle el dolor es muy necesaria. Su apoyo aliviara el dolor de Sabino y ayudara a mantener la fe de su familia mientras siguen buscando algún método o tratamiento que pueda salvarlo. Les agradecemos infinitamente su apoyo y amor hacia Sabino y su familia.