EILS Newsletter: March 2019

From the desk of Alexis Duecker, Executive Director of EILS.

Thank you for reading El Ciudadano and continuing to stand with us in this tumultuous time for our immigrant neighbors. Now more than ever, immigrants need to be protected. We at EILS treat each client’s case with the utmost care and attention. Rest assured, when you make a gift to EILS, you help to ensure we continue to positively impact immigrant families in our community.

I want you to know that EILS works with immigrants by making positive, concrete changes in our community through the provision of citizenship & naturalization clinics and other low-cost legal services. We’ve now operated our small but mighty immigration practice for 10 years—and we’ve provided legal assistance to more than 1,200 immigrants in our community!

We’ve done the frontline work for vulnerable immigrants in Philadelphia—and your steadfast support and advocacy has helped to make that happen!

If you’re like me, you’re looking to continue to stay engaged and support this community. Below are some ways you can engage more deeply with our work on behalf of our clients:

  • Volunteer at the EILS Citizenship Access Center
  • Review cases or participate in our screening events on a volunteer basis if you’re an immigration lawyer
  • Translate documents from Spanish to English
  • Call your representatives and advocate for immigration reform
  • Vote in your local and national elections

In addition to these action steps above, I hope you’ll consider making a gift and reading about our work in the community on Esperanza’s website.

Alexis Duecker
Executive Director, EILS
Committed to supporting the needs of immigrants

EILS Success Story: Jaime achieves U.S. Citizenship thanks to EILS

Like many young people, Jaime believed he had a bright future and wanted to find a way to make the most of his opportunities. Jaime grew up in Central America often feeling unsafe, and his family struggled desperately to make ends meet. He saw the United States as an opportunity to make the most of his life. Though he was only 16, Jaime was brave enough to leave Central America and come to the United States.

Jaime’s story provides an example of young immigrants hoping to harness the power of opportunity by creating new lives in the United States as American citizens. We’d love for you to make a gift to EILS today to help support young people working towards the American dream in Philadelphia.

After arriving in the United States, Jaime faced some obstacles on his journey towards citizenship. Upon his arrival, he was held in an immigration shelter for unaccompanied minors for two months. A family friend helped Jaime by moving him to Pennsylvania. Jaime eventually turned to a private law firm that helped him apply for his “green card” (lawful permanent residency).

Jaime was referred to EILS through a friend, and next contacted Maria Thomson, EILS’ former DOJ Accredited Representative. Maria and EILS took on Jaime’s citizenship case. The EILS staff walked him through the citizenship application and process, providing citizenship classes that helped prepare him for his exam.

After all that hard work and years spent navigating the immigration process, Jaime is now a proud American citizen. He enjoys the privileges afforded to him now, like being able to have a voice in his community and being able to vote. Thank you for supporting immigrants in the Philadelphia area with your investments in EILS!

EILS Provides Free Legal Screenings to Immigrants in the Community

EILS participated in a FREE immigration screening this past month, hosted at Ceiba on Saturday, February 23, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. EILS and Ceiba co-hosted the event as an immigration legal screening for possible immigration relief as well as an opportunity to create an emergency preparedness plan with immigrants in case of apprehension by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

Ceiba hosted the screening at their location. The event was well attended and EILS aided approximately 30 immigrants seeking legal screenings for immigration relief and assistance in completing their deportation defense packets. EILS is incredibly grateful to the numerous volunteers who dedicated their time to helping the immigrant community.

The free screenings are made possible by a partnership between EILS and Ceiba, through a grant from PA is Ready! Thanks to all who joined to make sure Philadelphia welcomes immigrants into our community!

We have another free legal screening coming up this Saturday, March 23 at 11:00 AM. For more information about this event click here.

Esperanza Partner Spotlight

Esperanza makes a difference in the lives of so many because of the generous support of our partners. The Samuel S. Fels Fund invested in Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) to help underserved immigrants and improve conditions and opportunities for marginalized communities in Philadelphia. The Fels Fund recently awarded EILS a two-year, $30,000 general operating grant, which will help EILS’ clients in Philadelphia to contribute to and participate in American society. Thank you again to the Samuel S. Fels Fund!