.The K. family originally immigrated from North Africa almost 15years ago. Mom and dad have both achieved citizenship and they are the proud parents of two nice young men, one of whom is in middle school and the other in elementary. Mom worked for a number of years but as her oldest son entered middle school she felt it would be better to quit working until the children were through what can be a turbulent period in their life. Dad is a self employed and makes enough to cover the family’s normal living expenses. Income wise they would be eligible for food stamps but they prefer not to apply because as mom would say “we have enough money to eat, we don’t need that help”. However, their income does not stretch to medical insurance. As one individual in the household is a diabetic we did apply for a medical card for the family. A request was made by the local Healthcare and Family Services office for the self employment record showing income and expenses. This was provided and it was like a black hole. Nothing more has been heard except they don’t have a medical card. Currently we are following up with the office trying to find out what happened as medical appointments are up-coming for the diabetic and as anyone who has a family member with this aliment knows this is an expensive condition to have. I have left messages with the case worker and if I or the family does not hear back within the next day or two I will be making a phone call to a higher power in the office.
Meet Deb, one of the Directors of ECIRMAC; she has been with ECIRMAC for about 13 years. Before becoming an integral part of the refugee center, Deb joined the Peace Corps after completing her Undergraduate studies. Her time in the Peace Corps sent her to Barbados. After the Peace Corps, she worked in Industry successfully before her place of work needed to down-size. Leaving the world of Industry exposed her to a different way of life, and she decided to return to higher education. Deb pursued her Masters in Education, but realized that she was not best suited for teaching children and instead focused on teaching adults. She went on to get her Doctorate in Education and Economic Development. While writing her dissertation, Deb discovered ECIRMAC and started working there part-time. Her love for people, cultures, and helping others has kept her at the center for years. She loves her fellow employees, volunteers and all of the clients at the center. She encourages everyone to adopt the best aspects of American culture and their own culture, and will be here to help for many years to come!
Immigration---now we do not claim to be experts or immigration lawyers but over the years we have gleamed some knowledge (or we know who to ask) on immigration matters. However, sometimes people ask for help just a little too late.
An individual stopped in who asked us what to do. It seemed he had missed his immigration appointment in Chicago. We asked him why, he said “Well my lawyer couldn’t make it and so I thought I didn’t need to go.” Then we asked why couldn’t the lawyer make the appointment? The lawyer practices immigration law on the east coast and this individual didn’t have enough money to pay the plane fare. So, why didn’t you go? Well---(no real answer). We explained, “Come on. Where is your logic? You had an appointment. If nothing else you show up and explain your lawyer couldn’t make it. You don’t ignore it.”
We then called Congressman Davis’s office and talked to the Congressman’s immigrant liaison. The liaison then spoke with immigration and relayed the answer to us. We then explained to the gentleman what needed to be done to try and get another appointment and keep out of immigration court. We were lucky to be able to fix this situation for him, but sometimes such situations are impossible to fix when brought to us after the fact.