EILS Newsletter: October 2018

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

Thank you for reading our newsletter and your interest in our work at EILS during this tumultuous time for our community. Now more than ever, EILS not only needs to support the underserved in our communities by representing clients, but we must also treat each client’s case with the utmost care and sensitivity given recent administrative decisions. With your support, we can continue our impact in the community.  

Based on current administrative policy, a submitted application means nothing if there is a potential issue that could lead to the issuance of a Notice to Appear, the charging document in immigration proceedings, and the attendant placement in removal proceedings. According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the policies enacted by the current administration make litigation the only solution to protect our clients. As AILA states, “your clients are facing the consequences of new restrictive legal standards and policies that represent an unprecedented effort to reduce legal immigration.”  

Simply put, applications for citizenship—indeed, all applications with which EILS assists—will be subject to far higher scrutiny now than they were under previous administrations. But as we continue to work for our clients, there are things YOU can do:

  • Volunteer at the EILS Citizenship Access Center
  • If you’re an immigration lawyer, volunteer to review cases with EILS clients
  • If you’re bilingual, translate documents for non-English speakers at EILS (Spanish speakers included)
  • Help us sign people in at immigration screenings
  • Call your representatives and advocate for immigration reform
  • Vote this November in your local and national elections

I hope you’ll consider the changing dynamics in our immigrant community here in Philadelphia. Now more than ever, we’re putting our clients first, and taking action to support the “least of these” in our communities.

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.

Achieving the American Dream: EILS Client Successfully Applies for Citizenship

Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) client Maria* recently successfully applied for U.S. citizenship after entering the country over 25 years ago from El Salvador. Maria is happy to earn the benefits of U.S. citizenship, as she left her country as an adult because of the difficulties she faced trying to maintain a healthy and happy life. With the help of EILS, Maria says, “I am happy to be here, alive, knowing stories of people from my country that die trying to come to the United States.

Maria originally arrived in the United States in the late 1980s. Maria’s mom petitioned for her in the early 1990s to enter the country legally with hopes of one day becoming Americans.

As a Jehovah’s Witness, it was important to Maria that she be able to express her faith in her new country. With the help of EILS, Maria experiences freedom of religion in the United States and lives a happy life as an American citizen.

Coming to the U.S. to create opportunities for herself, Maria is looking forward to traveling the country as a citizen. Like many immigrants, Maria’s hope in the American dream is what drove her.

Maria says, “I am happy to be an American citizen because I love the United States. I think that in so many ways everything is better.” We at EILS hope you’ll continue to support us and new citizens like Maria by visiting our website and making a gift to support our clients’ dreams of citizenship.

*Name has been changed to protect client confidentiality.

EILS Partner Spotlight

Esperanza makes a difference in the lives of so many because of the incredible support of our amazing partners. The Alfred and Mary Douty Foundation invested in Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) to help underserved immigrants and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the city of Philadelphia. We’ve recently completed a three-year grant from the Douty Foundation, which will help EILS clients in Philadelphia with the opportunities they need to contribute to and participate in American society. Thank you again to the Douty Foundation!


Visit www.esperanza.us/EILS for more information and www.esperanza.us/Events to view our upcoming events!

Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) was formed in 2009 with the mission to provide direct legal services, advocacy, and community education for underserved immigrants and their families so they have the opportunity to contribute to and participate in  American society.

Esperanza is a faith-based nonprofit organization driven by the biblical mandate to “serve the least of these.” We strengthen Hispanic communities through education, economic development, and advocacy.