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.
The Chicago City Council adopted a resolution on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in support of UAO’s advocacy to include Diversity Visa Program in the proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill. The diversity visa program is one of the few options available for Africans to come to the US as immigrants. Eliminating the program will have a negative impact on the future flow of black immigration.
In this historic moment, we would like to thank Alderman Will Burns (4th ward) for his tireless effort to have this resolution adopted in the City of Chicago.
On Saturday, May 18th, United African Organization hosted its 7th Annual Chicago African Summit & Resource Fair at the Northeastern Illinois University’s Carruther’s Center for Inner City Studies.
At the Summit, attendees had the opportunity to reflect on critical issues that affect the African community. Panel discussions on comprehensive immigration reform, accessing healthcare through the Affordable Care Act, and organizing African immigrants and refugees on the local and national level informed the community on how these policies affect them and the importance of advocacy work to fight African issues.
Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL-1) gave the keynote speech, further motivating the crowd to be advocates for change in regards to African issues.
We would like to thank all of our panelists for providing thought-provoking information and stimulating conversation throughout the day, as well as all of our interns and volunteers for making this event a success.
A special thanks to the organizations that participated in the Resource Fair providing health, immigration, legal, and employment services to the community.
Want more information on our annual Summit and Resource Fair? Contact us today at 312-949-9980
Until next year!
On May 1, 2013 UAO and allies rallied together to demand legalization for all undocumented immigrants under the Gang of 8′s proposed immigration reform bill.
SATURDAY, MAY 18TH
NEIU Carruther’s Center for Inner City Studies
700 E. Oakwood Blvd, Chicago IL 60615
The Chicago Summit on African Immigrants & Refugees is the premier forum of its kind in the Midwest with a special focus on contemporary African issues, public policy advocacy and community empowerment. This FREE forum brings together scholars, legislators, community activists, policy analysts and students, and individuals like you, to engage in constructive dialogue about Africa and the Diaspora.
The Resource Fair offers information and resources on Immigration, Legal Assistance, Employment, Housing, Health, Education, Business, and many more.
On April 16, 2013, UAO Executive Director Alie Kabba held a lecture at the American Islamic College on “Advancing Social Justice and Opportunity: Perspectives on Immigrant Activism and Civic Engagement”.
Lecture Details (provided by American Islamic College):
As the US Senate deliberates on key elements of a comprehensive immigration reform bill that President Obama has promised to sign into law, the fate of the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants is now squarely in the domain of public discourse. The journey from the shadows to full inclusion in the fabric of our democracy is a story of immigrant mobilization, engagement and, ultimately, integration as part of the quest to build a more perfect union. The immigrant rights movement, like the civil rights movement, has played a critical role in the struggle for social justice and equal opportunity for all. Drawing on recent experience in Illinois, this lecture will highlight the dynamism of immigrant activism to achieve significant public policy victories at local, state and national levels.
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On Tuesday, April 16, 2013, the Gang of 8 Senators released a proposed CIR bill that would cut the Diversity Visa Lottery program in 2014.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes 50,000 diversity visas available annually, drawn from a random selection among entries of individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
In 2011 alone, 24,000 out of the 50,000 allotted slots were granted to African immigrants; 48%.
The program accounts for the most African admission as legal permanent residents apart from refugees and U.S. citizens’ petitions for immediate family members.
Programs like the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program are essential to underrepresented nationals who seek to emigrate to the United States.
In an article by NBC Latino, the bill eliminates the backlog for family and employment-based immigration, which for some amounted to more than a 20-year wait. But a big shift is the transition from a family-based unification system to a merit-based immigration system. For example, 18 months after the legislation is enacted, a legal resident or citizen can no longer sponsor adult siblings. The new bill would restrict “immediate relative” to children and spouses of those allowed to become lawful permanent residents.
CITIZENSHIP FOR THE UNDOCUMENTED:
NBC Latino also notes that the bill provides a path to citizenship for the nation’s approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants as long as they entered the country before December 31, 2011. Undocumented immigrants without serious criminal convictions have one year — though that may be extended — to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant Status (RPI).
This would allow them to be in this country legally, work for any employer and travel outside of the United States. While RPI confers legal status, it does not make individuals eligible for public benefits, including healthcare, under the Affordable Care Act. The costs to apply for RPI status are a $500 fine, assessed taxes and application fees. After six years in RPI status, another $500 fee will be applicable.
A significant aspect of this bill is that an applicant’s spouse and children can be sponsored at the same time under the same application. There is no provision in the bill for same-sex couples, though a person familiar with the negotiations said that a DHS directive could be added if there are changes following a Supreme Court decision.
After 10 years, a person with RPI status will be eligible for a green card provided they have worked regularly, paid taxes, learned English and civics, and paid a $1,000 penalty. After three years with a green card, they can apply for citizenship.
Dreamers can get their green cards in 5 years, and will be eligible for citizenship immediately after that. Under a new AgJOBS Act, undocumented farm workers who have been working in the U.S. would be eligible for an Agricultural Card, and if they pay taxes and a $400 fine, they and their spouses and minor children can adjust to legal permanent resident status.
The bill addresses the issue of families who have been separated through deportation. Undocumented immigrants who had been deported for non-criminal reasons but who had been in the U.S. before the end of 2011 can reapply to re-enter and apply for RPI status, if they are the spouse of or parent to a child who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident, or a Dreamer eligible for the DREAM Act.
FIGHTING FOR INCLUSION:
There is still time to fight for programs like the Diversity Visa Lottery and family petitions. If you are concerned about this proposed bill, we STRONGLY URGE YOU to speak up and voice your opinions to your member of congress to insure that families stay together.
HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
The African Youth Forum, held on March 30, 2013, brought together youth to discuss important issues affecting our communities and provided a space for engagement and interaction.
The Know Your Rights Project led a workshop on Incarceration and the Prison Industrial Complex. Dr. Horace Hall of DePaul University challenged the audience on Racism and Education. The Immigrant Youth Justice League informed attendees about the challenges and fight for Immigration Reform and the work of undocumented youth.
Performances by Umuada Ure dance troupe of Umu Igbo Alliance, the drumming ensemble, W.Side Story/AfriCaribbean Connections ofAfter School Matters, and rapper B1Swagger made the event even more memorable.
The Forum challenged youth from diverse backgrounds, whether native-born or immigrant, to be advocates for change and build bridges through dialogue.
UAO would like to extend a special thank you to thevolunteers, Brown Sugar Bakery, Bryan Echols, and Chioma Anigbogu for making the event a success!
For more information on how to get involved with the African Youth Forum, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.