Category Archives: Immigration Clinic

Immigration Clinic Changes and Client Resources


Announcement

While the LUM Immigration Clinic is still operating, we will be waitlisting new clients for at least 30 days in order to provide our existing clients a high quality of service and to follow standards of practice that lead to successful outcomes.  Please note that we will work initial DACA and DACA renewal cases in ASAP.    Should you wish to be added to the waitlist, please send your request along with your contact information to immigration@lafayetteurbanministry.org.  We will contact you immediately to confirm that we have received your request and let you know when we expect to be able to serve you.  

If you’re situation requires immediate attention and you cannot wait, below are other nearby immigration legal service providers that may be able to assist you:


Current Clients

The LUM Immigration Clinic is in full operation. Please let us know if you have questions or receive new information regarding your case. During what is a very confusing time for everybody, we would welcome hearing from you, especially if there is an emergency or just to touch base.

It is extremely important that you notify the LUM Immigration Clinic if you have changed your address, phone number, or email. In order to best serve you, it would be helpful if you would inform us of changes in your marital status or number of household members.


Other Resources for Help


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LUM Immigration Clinic Volunteers

Andrea Axsom:

Readers should know: “I am a Purdue Professional Writing student and Bible study leader for The Navigators.”

Abby Sommers:

Readers should know: “I love learning about other cultures, especially their cuisine and literature!”

Eyob Moges:

Readers should know: “I am the son of Ethiopian immigrants who studied political science in college.”

Mateo Ramirez:

Readers should know: “I am majoring in Political Science and Communications, and I am very passionate about helping and advocating for my community.” 

Samanta Garcia:

Readers should know: “I am a rising senior at Purdue University studying Supply Chain Information & Analytics.”

Khunsha Ahmed:

Readers should know: “I am a junior in Health Sciences at Purdue, and I am passionate about helping the local community grow and being a part of that growth!” 

Mansoorah Kermani:

Readers should know: “I am dedicated to working towards making as many positive changes in the world as I can, no matter how big or small.”

Layan Yunis:

Readers should know: “I’m a student at Purdue University, and I’m very passionate about social justice.”

Sarah Percival:

Readers should know: “I’m working on a Ph.D. in Mathematics at Purdue.”

Angel Valentin:

Readers should know: “I came from Puerto Rico to study at Purdue, and have been working with the Wesley Foundation and becoming involved with local organizations.”

Khunsha Ahmed, Ileana Cortes Santiago, Mansoorah Kermani, Adelia Sorge, Layan Yunis, Angel Valrod, Eli Heindricks

New Proposed Rule Places US Asylum at Risk


Comment | Take the Pledge | Write a Letter

The LUM Immigration Clinic & Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies are asking individuals and organizations in the Greater Lafayette area to send comments to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice requesting that the proposed rules restricting asylum either be rescinded or that the comment period be extended 60 days. Comments & letters are being accepted until 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. To take the pledge or write a personal letter, click HERE. To submit an online comment, click HERE.

On June 15, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office for Immigration Review issued a NPRM attempting to eliminate asylum for the most vulnerable of asylum seekers. This massive rule would essentially abolish the asylum system in violation of international and domestic law. The rule would:

  • Violate asylum seekers’ due process rights
  • Heighten the credible fear standard for most
  • Foreclose asylum for those fleeing gender- and gang-based violence
  • Give asylum adjudicators unfettered discretion to deny asylum applications

Interfaith teachings recognize the dignity and sanctity of every human being. This rule would discard those who need hospitality and protection the most. This is a moment of crisis and calling for people of faith. Asylum seekers need you to raise your voice now. To submit an online comment, click HERE.


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How do the New Public Charge Rules Affect Me?

By Angel Valentín

Non-citizens seeking to immigrate to the United States, either temporarily or permanently, can be denied immigration benefits if it appears from their income and perceived ability to be self-sufficient that they may need certain types of government assistance. In February 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) put into effect additional public charge rules, which now look at whether applicants have received or are likely to receive benefits from certain government programs for 12 months within any 36-month period. The benefits are counted separately, so if you receive multiple benefits in a month it would count as receiving multiple months of benefits. To make that determination, they will look at nine programs: 

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), 
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), 
  • State or local general relief or general assistance, 
  • Institutionalization for long-term care, 
  • Medicaid, 
  • Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP), 
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, 
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and 
  • Public Housing.

Even middle income applicants and their families who have never even applied for public assistance will have to complete a new form attesting to their ability to support themselves, adding confusion and preparation time to an already complicated process. Moreover, if the new public charge form is not filled out correctly or any required documents omitted, there could be severe consequences for the applicant.    

The LUM Immigration Clinic understands that the new regulations may be confusing.  If you have questions or would like additional information on these rule changes, please email us at immigration@lafayetteurbanministry.org. Our staff would be glad to speak with you and determine how the new regulations might affect you and your family.

The new public charge regulations do not apply to people who are (or are applying to be) refugees, asylum seekers, TPS and DACA recipients, or are victims of trafficking, domestic violence, or other crimes seeking relief. It also does not apply to undocumented immigrants, who are unable to receive most of these benefits.

Check out the latest information and resources about Public Charge.

 
 

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LUM Approved by U.S. Department of Justice to Assist in Filing Immigration Applications

By Susan Brouillettte 

To practice immigration law, a person must either be an attorney or a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) accredited representative. In addition, practicing accredited representatives must be employed or volunteer with a DOJ Recognized nonprofit organization. The Lafayette Urban Ministry (LUM) Immigration Clinic is one of 20 DOJ Recognized Organizations in Indiana. The practice of immigration law includes providing immigration advice, filling out immigration forms, and drafting legal documents for a case. Unlike notarios, who are NOT authorized to provide legal immigration services, DOJ accredited representatives can practice immigration law and provide legal immigration services to clients. 

The LUM Immigration Clinic is supported by 3 volunteer attorneys and has a paid and volunteer staff of 6 accredited representatives, with 5 additional people in the process of becoming accredited representatives. People applying for accreditation must take at least 40 hours of classroom training and 40 hours of practical training to become authorized immigration law practitioners. When making a determination about an application for accreditation, the DOJ also looks at the character and fitness of the representative, including their honesty, trustworthiness, diligence, professionalism, and reliability. The prospective representative’s immigration status and criminal record are also checked before granting accreditation.

In addition to being recognized by the DOJ, the LUM Immigration Clinic is a member of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), the largest network of nonprofit immigration programs in the United States. The LUM Immigration Clinic is also a member of ASISTA. ASISTA is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping attorneys and advocates assist immigrant survivors of crime with their immigration matters, ultimately enhancing their safety and security. Both CLINIC and ASISTA provide the LUM Immigration CLINIC with technical assistance from experienced immigration attorneys, training and continuing education regarding policy changes, and immigration laws and instruction on how to maintain quality standards and practices.

For more information on DOJ recognition and accreditation, including a current roster of recognized offices and accredited representatives, see https://www.justice.gov/eoir/recognition-and-accreditation-program.  

Learn more about notarios, who are NOT authorized to practice immigration law

Don’t become a victim of immigration scams! If you need legal advice on immigration matters, make sure the person helping you is authorized to give legal advice. Only an attorney or an accredited representative working for a Department of Justice (DOJ) recognized organization can give you legal immigration advice.

As part of its ongoing effort to raise awareness about scams targeting the Latino/a community, the Federal Trade Commission has developed a series of fotonovelas, including one based on nationwide complaints about notario scams to the FTC from Spanish speakers. The  stories offer practical tips to help detect and stop common scams.

Learn more, download the two fotonovelas:

 
 

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LUM Client Becomes US Citizen


Maria is a Citizen!

by Cameron Brooks

Maria Gonzalez is a client at the LUM Immigration Clinic who has benefited from the services provided by our team. Originally from Mexico, Maria greatly appreciates what the Clinic has done for her. She has lived in the United States since she was 9 years old. Her mom supported her throughout the process, telling her “Maria, please become a U.S. Citizen.” Her mom also encouraged her to “pray and ask God to show you that he is there with you and that you can do it.” 

Maria’s children have been another important motivator to become a citizen. Obtaining U.S. citizenship was something she wanted to do for herself and her kids, as she wants them to safely grow up in the United States. 

Maria found the citizenship classes incredibly useful, even though she was very nervous and apprehensive at the start. Every time she had a question, help was always there. The class and the people she met helped her believe that it was possible to become a citizen.

Ms. Gonzalez would like to thank her family, Rev. Susan Brouillette, and especially God for helping her through the citizenship process. 


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Serving Clients Remotely During COVID-19


by Samantha Garcia

Through this unparalleled time, the LUM Immigration Clinic continues to be open for business to serve the community. However, “how” LUM is serving the community has been modified to keep families as safe as possible. The Clinic has adjusted to work with clients by phone, video conferencing, email, and in alternative locations.

The LUM Good Samaritan Program is also taking requests for emergency financial assistance by phone and email during the week, starting at 9 a.m. The Citizenship Classes and Spanish Conversation Tables have been postponed. 

LUM is continuing to monitor changes to this public health emergency. The LUM Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers are keeping those affected by COVID-19 in our thoughts and prayers.


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Commitment to Heritage and Profession


Meet the New LUM Immigration Clinic Assistant Director
Monica Casanova

by Andrea Axsom

The LUM Immigration Clinic would like to introduce its new Assistant Director, Monica Casanova. Monica’s primary roles include prospective client intake and helping clients navigate the immigration process. 

Monica is a first-generation immigrant who was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States as an infant. She recalls how this experience “shaped me as an individual and as the Assistant Director. As a first generation, I felt ashamed that I was not born in the United States and if you would have asked me at 10 years old, I would grudgingly tell you or lie about where I was born.” 

Her family was undocumented until President Reagan passed the Amnesty Law in 1986, allowing her family to come out of the shadows and live without fear. After the law was enacted, she remembers that “we were able to visit my grandparents in Mexico for the first time. I remember my mom running down a cornfield shouting for her mom, the first time we visited. It was my parents’ first visit in ten years.” 

Monica’s childhood experiences allowed her to become who she is today and have fueled her passion for working in immigration. Monica is the first member of her family to graduate from high school and attend college, receiving a B.A. in Education and a master’s degree in Library Science and Public History.

Monica is a founding member of the Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies and a current board Vice President. She is also a first-time political candidate, running on the Democratic ticket for Tippecanoe County’s Council-at-Large seat.

NEWS from the LUM Immigration Clinic

A letter from LUM Immigration Clinic Director,
Rev. Susan Brouillette

Dear community,

We are pleased to bring you our first LUM Immigration Clinic newsletter for immigrants. We have tried to cover some of the major changes in immigration regulations, including the new public charge rules, expected increases in United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) application fees, the Supreme Court’s decisions on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and success stories from our clients. 

We have also included a link to the video on our website which features our clients and their experiences with the LUM Immigration Clinic. The newsletter also provides a brief article regarding the LUM Immigration Clinic’s credentials and what it means to be an authorized U.S. Department of Justice legal service provider and accredited representative. 

We hope that you will find this useful and will let us know how we can improve our services.

 Sincerely,

The Rev. Susan Brouillette  
LUM Immigration Clinic Director

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“Starr” Gift Supports LUM Immigration Clinic


Carol & Nick Starr Donate $1,000 to LUM

In recognition of their church, First Baptist, and in honor of Joe Micon’s 41 years of service to LUM & the community, Carol & Nick Starr (pictured) donated $1,000 to support the work of the LUM Immigration Clinic. This “Starr” gift was used to purchase books for the LUM Immigration Clinic new law library. These books will provide a valuable online resource for the Immigration Clinic team allowing them to better serve individuals and families needing immigration assistance.

Carol is also a LUM volunteer working primarily with the LUM Good Samaritan Program. Lafayette Urban Ministry is grateful for the continued support from Carol & Nick Starr — especially during times like these. If you wish to make in an investment in the LUM Immigration Clinic, click the button below to make an online donation today.


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