The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 18, 2013

Immigration event set to help

BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Organizers hope an informational event will help the children of people who have entered the county without citizenship.

Attorneys, citizenship staff as well as volunteers from The Immigration Project will be on hand for a Free Immigration Assistance Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the David S. Palmer Arena. The Immigration Project — in existence for more than 20 years — provides an array of non-profit immigration legal services in central and downstate Illinois.

Martha Espino, chairwoman of the Hispanic/Latino Advisory Committee of Danville, said the event is designed to help a large number of local people.

“We have a big population of undocumented people working here in Danville,” she said. “One of the main things and the reason why we’re doing this is the people who are involved have concerns and care about their situation.

“How are you going to go to school and have care when you can’t work and don’t have the Social Security number to work?” she said.

The City of Danville is among a number of sponsors for the event, including Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Bar Foundation, the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, New Americans Initiative, and the Refugee & Immigrant Citizenship Initiative.

Sandra Houston, human relations director for Danville, said the event will help disperse information to people on citizenship and on issues such as children brought to this country by parents without documentation.

“We are expecting a big turnout,” she said. “Anytime we do an event on immigration, we get a good turnout.

“It’s a good thing for the community, especially for the people that need this information,” Houston added.

Despite past events, this is the first immigration day that has tried to deal specifically with children brought to the country by parents without documentation — referred to as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

“The (Hispanic/Latino Advisory Committee) members felt this event was needed in the Danville area,” said Houston, who is coordinator for the 15-year-old committee.

On the Web

Information on The Immigration Project is available online at http://www.immigrationproject.org.