Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 2015 Newsletter
Still image taken from the film "Which Way Home," a documentary which follows several unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call "The Beast." This film shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers.

The Voices of C-U Migrant Children 
Who Live Alone Here 

Currently, there are several unaccompanied minors in Champaign-Urbana who are facing the stress of approaching immigration court dates and paying for legal representation. The strength and bravery of unaccompanied minors should not go unnoticed. These students are determined to receive an education and provide for their families, which is their human right.

Please take a moment to read the experiences of unaccompanied children who live here right in CU:

"Every day I tell myself that it is ok to suffer a little bit here.  The desert was very cold. I spent 3 nights there. That was really bad. This now, being mistreated and abused, having a little pain is not bad compared to spending the night in the desert"

"One day my dad and I were just walking downtown in Guatemala when suddenly a group of men just came out of nowhere and killed another man. Right there in front of us. My dad got really scared for me. I think that's the day he decided to send me here".

"It took me  months to get here. I was 14 years old when I left my house and I was 15 already when I got here.  I was traveling with a group but then we got separated and I stayed alone until I found another group"

"I got on top of the train! Everyone knows about the train! I got very tired. It was too many hours on top of that train and the movement makes you sleepy. But everyone tells you not to fall asleep because then you fall and you die. It is hard not to fall asleep!"

"I like the school. I don't want to stop coming to school. This is where I eat. This is where I learn and my teachers help me.  I don't have any other place. My school is my place."   

"My only concern right now is my appointment next year with immigration. I'm afraid of what they are going to tell me. I still don't have a lawyer. What do you think they are going to tell me?  Only 13 more months for my next appointment. I can't get that out of my mind."
Last fall, the Immigration Forum held a forum to raise awareness about the issues and experiences that Unaccompanied Minors face. We will continue our work to raise awareness and to raise funds to provide assistance to Unaccompanied Minors.


For more information, here's a good article that answers lingering questions about unaccompanied minors:  

Immigrant Friendly CU 

The CU Immigration Forum's Immigrant Friendly C-U Committee is working with University of Illinois students from the Department of Urban & Regional Planning to learn about businesses owned by residents born in other countries.
So far, the students have interviewed over twenty Urbana business owners born from all around the world, including Mexico, England, Iran, Germany, El Salvador, Korea, China, Mali, Thailand, India and many more countries. We've learned that the foreign-born population is an important part of the local economy. Additionally, many contribute time and resources to local community events and programs. Complying with the myriad of government regulations can be a challenge, especially when English is the second language.
If you are interested in learning more about this project, listen to FM 104.5 on Monday nights from 7-8pm, CUIF's Radio Show.
Taped portions also replayed on CUIF TV, UPTV Channel 6 Friday at 6:30pm each week and can also be found on YouTube. We look forward to finishing our study. The students will make a final presentation in early May. 
For more information, contact Professor Stacy Harwood,

UI students, Kyoungjae Park and Roman Yanke with Host Tom Garza (and CUIF president) at 104.5 FM Studio. Estudiantes de UI, Kyoungjae Park y Roman Yanke con el presentador (y presidente de CUIF) Tom Garza  en el estudio 104.5 FM.

CU Immigration Forum
Radio & TV Show

CU Immigration episode #3
CU Immigration episode #3

Host Thomas Garza of the CU Immigration Forum and guests Maria Alanis from the Champaign Schools and Sol Angel Tindera of the International Prep Academy 

On Bilingual Education

CU Immigration Forum TV on

Late on February 16, 2015, Federal judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Obama administration has to temporarily halt implementation of its executive actions on immigration. 

This lawsuit is nothing more than a partisan political attack on President Obama's executive action on administrative relief. But even though the judge's order might temporarily delay the implementation of deferred action programs like expanded DACA and DAPA, it will not stop them. 

The Department of Justice filed an emergency request to stay the judge's order this week. This emergency request could be decided potentially in a matter of days, and could result in allowing expanded DACA and then DAPA applications to proceed. 

In the meantime, we will continue educating, preparing, and planning for administrative relief.

Here are five things you should know about the status of the expanded DACA and DAPA programs in regards to the lawsuit:


1) Do not worry! Remember that this decision does not repeal, but only delays, expanded DACA and DAPA.

2)The decision is not permanent. We are confident the higher courts will reject this lawsuit since it has no legal merit.

3) Prepare for expanded DACA and DAPA. Continue to gather your documents and save money as the application fee is $465.

4) Current DACA remains unchanged. The decision only affects the announcement made in November 2014, NOT the 2012 DACA program. 

5) Get involved and stay informed. Visit for more information and updates. Sign up for text alerts by texting READY to 630-524-4106

Extended DACA
The White House is also expanding the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Currently this program only covered youths who arrive in the US before June 15, 2007.  The expansion:
  • moves the cutoff date to January 1, 2010.
  • removes the upper age limit, which currently limits DACA eligibility to only those youths who were born after June 15, 1981.
  • Finally, DACA coverage would last three years, not two.  
This action could benefit as many as 300,000 immigrant youth. Not in effect yet because of the immigration lawsuit.

Existing DACA requirements:
You can apply for DACA if you:
  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  • Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Are you a permanent resident interested in becoming 
a U.S. Citizen? 

Are you interested in volunteering to help others go through the process of naturalization?

Citizenship Means: New Opportunities, a United Family, and Better Jobs

On March 21, The Refugee Center, The University YMCA, CU Immigration Forum, and The Immigration project are co-sponsoring a free Citizenship Workshop. This workshop is part of The New Americans Initiative, a not-for-profit partnership with The State of Illinois (more information about this partnership is provided below).

Citizenship Workshop
What is a Citizenship Workshop?

The Citizenship Workshop (Free)
Saturday, March 21, 2015
At the Urbana Free Library
210 W. Green Street | Urbana, IL 

Assistance includes conducting one-on-one consultations to assist people in the 
completion of the N400 application, in available application financing, and in getting 
connected to community resources.

For more information, download:

The New Americans Initiative, a non-profit partnership with The State of Illinois, provides FREE* services such as:

· Presenting information on the naturalization process
· Providing a checklist of the documents needed
· Assisting with the completion of your application
· Helping you file for an "application fee" waiver, if you are eligible
· Providing advice and assistance until your oath ceremony
· Having an attorney review your application and provide legal assistance
*This excludes the $10 postage fee for The Immigration Project to submit your application.
Questions? Contact NAI/University YMCA at or NAI/ECIRMAC at
CU Immigration Forum 
General Meeting

Learn more. Get involved. 
Join us for our next meeting! 

When: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 5pm
Where: University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign (corner of Wright & Chalmers)

Join us for our next meeting on Tuesday, April 14 at 5pm at the University YMCA. Help us plan for events and action items and directly serve our Immigrant Families in Champaign-Urbana. 

The Champaign-Urbana Immigration Forum is a group of immigrants, students, clergy, service providers, labor union representatives, residents and community organizations concerned about the progress and plight of immigrants in the Champaign County community (Central Illinois). The C-U Immigration Forum meets regularly (on the second Tuesday of each month) to discuss immigration-related issues and events in our community and works to:
  • Celebrate the diversity and culture that immigrants contribute to our community;
  • Educate the public about issues that affect local immigrant communities;
  • Advocate for the rights of immigrants and encourage their full participation in civic, cultural, social and political life in our community;
  • Promote permanent and positive changes that will improve the quality of life for immigrants in our community; and
  • Organize for policies that lead to just and humane treatment to all immigrants that are part of our community. 
For more information, call 217-979-0255 or