United African Organization

UAO aims to serve as the African Community Resource Clearinghouse wherein constituents gather, access information, share experiences, exchange views, and coordinate organizational capacity development. UAO's hub of resources on this website is intended to assist community members in navigating services, programs and resources that are available to help them cope better in the United States.

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.”

Editorial Nook: International Women’s Day

Women’s Empowerment

“Human rights are women’s rights – and women’s rights are human rights. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely – and the right to be heard”.  Hillary Rodham Clinton, an advocate for gender equality, emphasized this point during her historic 1995 speech at the Beijing’s women’s conference. Since then, we have made major strides in seeking justice and equality for women around the world.

The international community must continue to uphold this commitment to ensure that the rights and freedoms of women and girls remain protected and that violence against  women eliminated.

Today, March 8th 2013, marked International Women’s Day. There is much to celebrate in the global mission to promote gender equality and the advancement of women. The 2013 agenda for UN Women, an agency of the United Nations, has put emphasis on 1) elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls; and 2) the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS. Most recently, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on February 28, 2013. This symbolizes a crucial breakthrough in the quest for justice and ending violence against women.

Why is this a victory for women’s rights? Here are 5 reasons:

  1. New provisions will help Native American and Alaska Native women access justice.
  2. New provisions help immigrant women in the U.S.
  3. Nondiscrimination provisions help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of violence.
  4. Inclusion of the Trafficking Victims and Protection Act (TVPA).
  5. Reauthorization of VAWA will ensure that millions of survivors be able to access critical social programs and legal services to help end violence.

Throughout recent history, progress has been made in protecting the rights of women and girls. In 1979, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by the UN General Assembly generated the international pledge to end all forms of discrimination. Following CEDAW, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (PFA) of 1995 sought to accelerate the implementation of strategies for the advancement of women including enhancing participation in public and private decision-making. In 2000, the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security acknowledged the importance of increasing women’s role in decision-making in regard to conflict prevention and resolutions. The Millennium Development Goals, created in 2002, outlines ambitious action plans to eliminate gender disparity in all educational levels by 2015.

These documents listed above have guided international movements in transforming the status and rights of women. VAWA is a great victory for women’s rights in the U.S. To quote U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice in her address to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, “All women and girls have a fundamental right to live free from violence and fear”. Yet, 1 in 3 women are still victims to physical and/or psychological abuse, or are coerced into sex. Not only is creating laws vital to ending violence against women, but increasing accountability and enforcing these laws is essential. Empowering women and girls also includes acknowledging their reproductive rights and access to reproductive health services.

International Women’s Day is a catalyst to encourage dialogue surrounding women’s rights around the world; however, the discussion must continue throughout the year. Use today to reflect and celebrate past and future accomplishments that empower women around the world. It is our responsibility as a global community to stay committed to ending violence against women and protecting their freedoms. This requires comprehensive support services for victims, improved measures to prevent assault, justice for offenders and a common understanding and respect for the fundamental rights of women and girls by all community members.

We are moving in the right direction, but must keep the momentum going. It has become seemingly apparent that when women succeed, nations become safer, successful and more ethical. Let the voices of women and girls be heard. Remember, human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.

Written by: Coralie Noisette, UAO Intern
M.S. Candidate, International Public Service- DePaul University 
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