Wednesday, May 11, 2016

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 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.