United African Organization

Why Beatrice is Giving!

December 2, 2014NancyBlog

Beatrice Blahoua, heard about United African Organization (UAO) from a friend in her church, who advised her to come to UAO for help with applying to become a United States citizen. Beatrice says, ”The process of getting my citizenship with UAO was wonderful, they helped me and made it easy”. Beatrice is now a United States citizen. She is so happy that she came to the office to share the good news. Beatrice says she appreciated the service so much that she decided to give back. She signed up to volunteer.

Beatrice is giving back! 

President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration

November 21, 2014NancyBlog, Immigration

On November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of executive actions to crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

These initiatives include:

  • Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and have been present since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years | Details
  • Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, provided they pass required background checks | Details
  • Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens | Details
  • Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs | Details
  • Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee | Details

Important notice: These initiatives have not yet been implemented, and USCIS is not accepting any requests or applications at this time. Beware of anyone who offers to help you submit an application or a request for any of these actions before they are available. You could become a victim of an immigration scam. Subscribe to this page to get updates when new information is posted.

Source:http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction

Temporary Protected Status Designations for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone

Department of Homeland Security Announces Temporary Protected Status Designations for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone

Release Date: November 20, 2014

WASHINGTON— Due to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has announced his decision to designate Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.  As a result, eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone who are currently residing in the United States may apply for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Federal Register notices provide details and procedures for applying for TPS and are available at www.uscis.gov/tps.

The TPS designations for the three countries are effective Nov. 21, 2014 and will be in effect for 18 months. The designations mean that eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those three countries) will not be removed from the United States and are authorized to work and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The 180-day TPS registration period begins Nov. 21, 2014 and runs through May 20, 2015.

To be eligible for TPS, applicants must demonstrate that they satisfy all eligibility criteria, including that they have been “continuously residing” in the United States since Nov. 20, 2014 and “continuously physically present in” the United States since Nov. 21, 2014.  Applicants also undergo thorough security checks.  Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS. The eligibility requirements are fully described in the Federal Register notices and on the TPS Web page at www.uscis.gov/tps

Liberians currently covered under the two-year extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) based on President Obama’s Sept. 26, 2014 memorandum may apply for TPS. If they do not apply for TPS within the initial 180-day registration period, they risk being ineligible for TPS because they will have missed the initial registration period. Liberians covered by DED who already possess or have applied for an EAD do not need to also apply for one related to this TPS designation. However, such individuals who are granted TPS may request a TPS-related EAD at a later date as long as the TPS designation for Liberia remains in effect.

Applicants may request that USCIS waive any or all fees based on demonstrated inability to pay by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request. Fee-waiver requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation. USCIS will reject any TPS application that does not include the required filing fee or a properly documented fee-waiver request.

All USCIS forms are free. Applicants can download these forms from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/forms or request them by calling USCIS toll-free at 1-800-870-3676.

Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check My Case Status Online or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833).

For more information about USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook(/uscis), and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

Source: http://www.uscis.gov/news/dhs-announces-temporary-protected-status-designations-liberia-guinea-and-sierra-leone

Chicago Housing Authority Opens Affordable Housing Waitlist

October 21, 2014NancyBlog

Diversity Visa Program – 2016

October 8, 2014NancyBlog, Editorial Nook

Online registration for the DV 2016 Program will begin on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 noon, (EDT) and will conclude on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 12:00 noon, (EDT).

For fiscal year 2016, 50,000 diversity visas (DVs) will be available. There is no cost to register. Entries will NOT be accepted through the U.S. Postal Service.

Apply online: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/

Documents needed to complete your E-DV entry:

  • Name – last/family name, first name, middle name – exactly as on your passport.
  • Birth date – day, month, year.
  • Gender – male or female.
  • City where you were born.
  • Country where you were born
  • Country of eligibility for the DV Program – Your country of eligibility will normally be the same as your country of birth. Your country of eligibility is not related to where you live. If you were born in a country that is not eligible, please review the Frequently Asked Questions to see if there is another way you may be eligible.
  • Entrant photograph(s) – Recent photographs of yourself, your spouse, and all your children listed on your entry. See Submitting a Digital Photograph for compositional and technical specifications.
  1. You do not need to include a photograph for a spouse or child who is already a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, but you will not be penalized if you do.
  2. Group photographs will not be accepted; you must submit a photograph for each individual. Your entry may be disqualified or visa refused if the photographs are not recent, have been manipulated in any way, or do not meet the specifications explained below. See Submitting a Digital Photograph for more information.
  • Mailing Address –
  • Phone number (optional).
  • Email Address
  • Highest level of education you have achieved, as of today
  • Current marital status
  • Number of children – List the Name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, and country of birth for all living unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of whether or not they are living with you or intend to accompany or follow to join you should you immigrate to the United States. Submit individual photographs of each of your children using the same technical specifications as your own photograph.
For DV-2016, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible

Tackling Illiteracy

October 7, 2014NancyBlog, Editorial Nook

“What is your favorite thing about living in the United States”, I asked one student, trying to get him to form his own thoughts instead of only wanting to read pre-written sentences. “Basketball” he said without pause. “And why is that?” I urged him. “No English”, he said. We both laughed.

Literacy can open doors—a larger job market, access to better education and health services—but it is also required for many permanent residents applying for U.S. citizenship (some people, such as permanent residents 55 years of age or older who have been in the U.S. for 15 years or more). A basic level of reading and writing in English often stands in the way of permanent residents as they go through the Naturalization process, and the Untied African Organization provides support and resources to these members of the community.

As a part of my one month internship with the UAO, I worked one-on-one with clients to develop literacy in English. During my time here, I worked with four different students, some recently arrived high school students, some adults who had already been living in the States for more than 20 years.

The United African Organization serves a diverse community of clients, so my students’ levels varied greatly, from more advanced students who wanted to review citizenship interview questions like separation of powers and the Bill of Rights, to clients who were not even literate in their native language and had to start with learning the ABCs.

It was incredible to see the tenacity of some of these people, unfazed by the daunting task ahead, and the progress they are able to make in such short periods, especially considering the responsibilities that demand their attention outside of our short one to two hour lessons.

If you know someone in need of literacy support or who needs to review for the naturalization interview questions, please send them to our offices.

Volunteers interested in helping to develop literacy in the African immigrant community can contact the Nancy at volunteer@uniteafricans.org.

Affidavit of Support for Immigration Petitions

October 7, 2014NancyBlog, Editorial Nook

What is an Affidavit of Support?

If you are petitioning for a family member to come to the U.S. permanently, you have to accept to financially support that relative. The purpose of the I-864, Affidavit of Support is to accept this financial responsibility; by completing and signing the I-864, you become your relative’s sponsor. The Affidavit pf Support is legally enforceable. The petitioner who submitted the immigrant visa petition for his or her relative is also the sponsor of the intending immigrant.

Who is required to submit an Affidavit of Support?

The following individuals need to submit a Form I-864 completed and signed by the petitioner/sponsor in order to obtain an immigrant visa or adjust their status:

-        Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens: spouses, parents and unmarried children under 21;

-        Relatives who are eligible to immigrate to the US based on one of the family-based preference categories:

  • First Preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens;
  • Second Preference (2A): Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of lawful permanent residents (a.k.a. green card holders);
  • Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters (any age) of lawful permanent residents;
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens;
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.

Who is exempt from submitting an Affidavit of Support?

The following individuals do not need to submit a Form I-864:

-        An individual who has earned or can be credited with 40 quarters of lawful work in the U.S. (usually 10 years);

-        An individual who has an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, as a Self-Petitioning Widow or Widower or as a battered spouse or child;

-        Orphans adopted by U.S. citizens abroad under certain conditions.

Who can be a sponsor?

A sponsor must be:

-        A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;

-        At least 18 years old;

-        Domiciled in the U.S. which usually means that you actually live in the U.S.

The petitioner who is petitioning for his or her family member must also be the sponsor of the intending immigrant.

When do I file an Affidavit of Support?

The sponsor should complete Form I-864:

-        When your relative has been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview at the consulate overseas, if your relative is abroad;

-        When you relative is submitting his application for adjustment to permanent resident status with USCIS.

What supporting documents do I need to submit with the Affidavit of Support?

-        U.S. Federal Income Tax Return or IRS Transcript for the most recent fiscal year as well as the two previous fiscal years;

-        Proof of current employment;

-        Paystubs for the past 3 months

What are the income requirements?

As a sponsor, you must meet certain income requirements: your household income must be equal to or higher than 125% of the U.S. poverty guidelines for your household size.

The poverty guidelines can be found here: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-864p.pdf

What if I don’t meet the income requirements?

You can add the cash value of your assets, such as property, money in savings accounts, stocks and bonds.

Who can be a joint sponsor?

If you do not meet the income requirements, a joint sponsor can also accept to financially support your relative. The joint sponsor must meet all the same requirements as the sponsor as well as meet the U.S. poverty guidelines.

When does the sponsor’s responsibility end?

-        When the relative becomes a U.S. citizen; or

-        When the relative has earned or can be credited with 40 quarters of lawful work in the U.S. (usually 10 years).

The Affidavit of Support is complex; incomplete or incorrect Forms I-864 will not be accepted. You should seek the help of attorney if necessary. Please feel free to contact our Sondra Furcajg, our Staff Attorney, at (312) 949-9980 for any questions you may have.

Blues for Water II: A Concert featuring singer/pianist Johari Jabir

October 1, 2014NancyBlog, Editorial Nook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Blues for Water II: A Concert to Raise Awareness of the Global Water Crisis featuring singer/pianist Johari Jabir. 

Date/Time: Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 4:30pm 

Location: Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church, 600 E. 35th Street, (corner of 35th and Cottage Grove) 

Admission is Free. A free will offering will be taken in support of the following organizations:         

  • Friends of the Earth Middle East, a collaborative effort between Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists.

  • Faith in Place, a local ecumenical faith based environmental organization.

  • United Africans Organization, a community-based coalition of African organizations in support of social and economic justice for African refugees in Illinois and Africans on the continent.                               

Contact: Johari Jabir, (312) 852-5013 or jjabir@uic.edu              Sixth Grace Church, (312) 225-5300 

On Sunday, October 19 at 4:30pm at Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church, singer/pianist Johari Jabir will present a concert to raise awareness of the global water crisis. Johari is an artist, scholar and teacher. He is the accompanist at Sixth Grace Church, and he is also an assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois Chicago where he teaches courses in 19th/20th century black cultural studies, religious studies, and the history of black music.

A singer, pianist, composer, and choral conductor, Jabir is both a classically trained musician and a musical artist trained in the gospel blues tradition of St. Louis, Missouri where he was born and raised. Johari will present an afternoon of love songs, protest songs, and gospel blues. His renditions of love songs are reminiscent of the Platters; he sings gospel music in the crooning style of Sam Cooke; and he writes and performs protest songs in the tradition of Nina Simone. La Vonzelle Paige, Vocalist and Music Director at Sixth Grace Church will perform on the program. A small rhythm section will accompany Jabir, and he will render some duets with the soulful Chicago cellist Khahari Lemuel. The concert will feature new arrangements by Jabir such as his Suite Lament, which he describes as a “serenade of comfort to black mothers who have lost children to violence.” He will also render a group of spirituals and gospels he calls, Afrikans at the Jordan that celebrate the Jordan as a trope in black culture.

Jabir will repeat the finale from his previous “Blues for Water” concert of 2013 with his rousing rendition of the spiritual “Amen!: In Tribute of Freedom Fighters.”

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