Share your immigration story

Share Your Immigration Story at the Skokie Public Library

In partnership with the Skokie Public Library, NSLAC is pleased to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month alongside the Skokie community. June is Immigrant Heritage Month across the nation. During June we recognize the diverse and valuable contributions of immigrants to American society.

Have a story to tell? Whether you are a recent immigrant or your family has been in the United States for generations, you and your family will have an opportunity to share your 3-5 minute immigration story at the Share Your Immigration Story event at the Skokie Public Library.

Join us on Thursday, June 20th at 6 pm to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month. Click HERE to register and learn more. 

 

 

Immigrant Heritage Month
Human Trafficking

Unveiling the Shadows: A Closer Look at Human Trafficking 

Unveiling the Shadows: A Closer Look at Human Trafficking 

Human trafficking is a pervasive global crisis, that ensnares countless individuals, transcending borders and leaving lives shattered in its wake. Recognizing the signs and raising awareness are critical in combating this modern-day slavery. The information below sheds light on the reality of human trafficking and highlights key indicators to help identify abuse and bring an end to the cycle of exploitation and suffering. NSLAC stands as a beacon of hope for victims and survivors, providing free legal assistance and support to help them break free from the abuse.  

What is human trafficking?  

Under U.S. law, human trafficking refers to the exploitation of individuals through the use of force, deception, or coercion to compel them into labor or commercial sex against their will. It is a form of modern-day slavery that transcends borders and impacts millions of women, men and children globally and within the United States. Human trafficking can manifest in various ways, such as forced labor and sex trafficking.  

  • Forced labor involves the exploitation of individuals through coercion, fraud, or force for labor, services, or financial profit.  
  • Sex trafficking occurs when individuals are coerced, deceived, or forced into engaging in commercial sexual activities.  

While it may seem that human trafficking occurs behind closed doors, victims are often hidden in plain sight.  Traffickers target the most vulnerable, often undocumented immigrants, people of color, those in unstable living situations, or previous victims of abuse. Anyone in any community can be a victim of human trafficking and traffickers often blend into the community. 

Recognizing the Signs 

Human trafficking is a diverse and complex crime, often hidden in plain sight. Learning to recognize the signs is the first step in identifying victims and helping save a life.  

Someone may be experiencing human trafficking or exploitation if they: 

  • Do not have access to important documents such as passports, birth certificates, or work authorization cards. 
  • Have no control over their wages or feel compelled to give their wages directly to a third party. 
  • Experience constant monitoring or restrictions on their movements and phone calls. 
  • Were recruited for work under false promises. 
  • Live in dangerous, overcrowded, and inhumane conditions. 
  • Appear disconnected from their family, friends, or community. 
  • Often exhibit signs of fear, paranoia, tension, disorientation, or confusion. 
  • Live and work in isolated conditions. 
  • Show signs of being denied food, water, sleep, or medical care. 
  • Exhibit physical injuries in various stages of healing. 
  • Cannot freely leave where they live or work. 
  • Are coached in what to say when questioned or are often accompanied by someone to whom they defer.

 If you believe you may have information about a trafficking situation, report a tip HERE 

The Impact of Human Trafficking on Victims and Survivors 

The consequences of human trafficking can be deep and prolonged, affecting victims emotionally, physically, and psychologically, often all at once. Survivors often experience depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and substance abuse. It is also not uncommon for survivors to develop feelings of guilt, shame, or denial, making them reluctant to seek help. 

Recognizing and addressing the trauma of human trafficking is a critical step in a survivor’s path to recovery and well-being. While navigating the trauma of human trafficking can take time, with professional and compassionate trauma-informed support, survivors can begin the journey toward healing and rebuilding their lives beyond the shadows of exploitation and abuse. 

Breaking the Silence and Seeking Help 

Human trafficking has no place in our community, and NSLAC is dedicated to fighting against it. If you or someone you know is showing signs of being a victim of human trafficking, please call 911 or contact the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC). NSLAC offers confidential and free legal help to victims, collaborating closely with law enforcement and other organizations to ensure victims get the professional support and guidance they need. 

If you are in need of free legal services, please contact NSLAC at 847-737-4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org. If this is an emergency, please call 911 immediately.  

How You Can Help 

Human trafficking can occur in any community, and raising public awareness is crucial in our fight against this crime. By learning to recognize the key indicators, raising awareness, and reporting suspected cases of human trafficking, individuals, educators, businesses, and first responders all contribute to dismantling the networks of exploitation.  

Here are some effective ways to contribute to raising awareness: 

  • Print or digitally share and distribute NSLAC's human trafficking flyer 
  • Share this blog on social media platforms and other digital channels. 
  • Learn more about human trafficking and recognizing the signs HERE 
  • If you suspect human trafficking activity, report a tip HERE 

 Through education and awareness, we can work together to shine a light on human trafficking and protect the most vulnerable individuals in our communities. 

Know the Signs, Be the Change 

We all have the potential to identify a human trafficking case and make a life-saving difference. By learning to recognize the signs, raising awareness, and reporting human trafficking, together we play a critical role in combating this global crisis. No one should live in fear for their life. 

We encourage you to be vigilant and share the information found in this blog to help raise awareness with those around you. Through our collective commitment, we can build a future where every individual can live free from fear and exploitation.  

Additional Resources 

Interested in learning more? The resources below provide more information on human trafficking, reporting a tip, identifying abuse, and educational resources.  

Human Trafficking Hotlines: 

National Human Trafficking Hotline: To report a potential human trafficking situation, call the hotline at 1-888-373-7888, or submit a tip online here. Learn more about recognizing the signs of human trafficking here 

Domestic Violence: National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 

Dating Violence: National Dating Abuse Helpline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-866-331-9474 

Educational Resources:  

Polaris: Learn more about types of human trafficking HERE 

Blue Campaign: Learn more about human trafficking and find downloadable teaching tools HERE 

 

References: 

Homeland Security. (n.d.). How You Can Help | Www.dhs.gov. https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/play-role 

Human Trafficking Capacity Building Center. (n.d.). THE VICTIM’S SAFETY AND WELL-BEING TAKE PRIORITY IN ALL MATTERS. https://htcbc.ovc.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh311/files/media/document/Understanding_Trauma_508c.pdf 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2021, January 10) Identify and Assist a Trafficking Victim - United States Department of Statehttps://www.state.gov/identify-and-assist-a-trafficking-victim/#indicators 

Polaris. (2019, October 16). How Human Trafficking Happens | Polaris. Polarisproject.org; Polaris. https://polarisproject.org/understanding-human-trafficking/ 

Polaris. (2019, October 16) The Typology of Modern Slavery | Polaris. Polarisproject.org. https://polarisproject.org/the-typology-of-modern-slavery/ 

 U.S. Department of State. (2023). About Human Trafficking. United States Department of State. https://www.state.gov/humantrafficking-about-human-trafficking/#victims 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2018, October 17). Indicators of Human Trafficking. Department of Homeland Security. https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/indicators-human-trafficking 

U.S Department of State. (n.d.). Public Awareness & Training. United States Department of State. https://www.state.gov/humantrafficking-public-awareness-training/ 

Free Legal Aid for Asylum Seekers in north suburban Cook County and Lake County

A Guide to U.S. Asylum

A Guide to U.S. Asylum | Free Asylum Legal Aid in North Suburban Cook County and Lake County

Every year, individuals from various parts of the world come to the United States in search of safety and protection. The United States provides a crucial form of immigration protection known as Asylum to qualifying individuals who cannot safely return to their home countries due to fear of persecution. For many, obtaining approved Asylum status means safety and protection, a route to work authorization, family reunification, and a possible pathway to achieving Permanent Residence Status. North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC) provides free legal aid to Asylum seekers in north suburban Cook County, IL, and Lake County, IL.  

 What is Asylum? 

Asylum is a form of legal immigration status granted to individuals who come to the United States seeking protection due to past persecution or fear of future persecution if they were to return to their Country of Nationality or the Country where they last resided.  

 What are the requirements to qualify for Asylum? 

  • You left your home country due to persecution or fear of future persecution based on one or more of the following – race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. 
  • You are already in the United States or are seeking admission at the border. 
  • You file the Asylum application within one year of entering the United States. 

What is the process for filing for Asylum? 

There are two types of Asylum filings designed for individuals already in the United States who have a valid basis of experienced persecution in the past or fear of future persecution if they were to return to their home country, provided they have been in the United States for less than one year.

  • Affirmative Asylum is a type of Asylum petition that is proactively filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services while residing in the United States and before the government initiates any removal or deportation proceedings against you. 
  • Defensive Asylum is a type of Asylum filed when the Department of Homeland Security has initiated Removal Proceedings against you, and you file for Asylum in response to the Removal.  

What are the benefits of applying for Asylum? 

 While your Asylum application is being reviewed by the Government 

  • You may qualify for Work Authorization and a Social Security Number. 
  • You can remain in the United States and not accrue Unlawful Presence, an important factor for potential future immigration claims that you might submit. 
  • You can include your spouse and children present in the USA on your Asylum application. 

What are the benefits of having an approved Asylum case? 

 Once you have an approved Asylum status you can: 

  • Petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States 
  • Apply for Permanent Resident Status (Green card)

Can NSLAC help me review my Immigration situation and determine if I might qualify for Asylum and Asylum Legal Aid? 

Yes, North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic has a team of skilled immigration attorneys and representatives available for free legal aid consultations. They will carefully review your immigration case and determine if you qualify to file for asylum or other possible forms of immigration relief. If you or someone you know needs asylum assistance, please be in touch with NSLAC at 847-737-4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org to review eligibility for our services and to schedule a consultation. NSLAC also offers free legal aid in the areas of domestic violence and housing. 

For the latest updates on Asylum, please visit www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-and-asylum/asylum 

Asylum Mission Moments: 

At North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC), we are proud to share the inspirational stories of those who have successfully obtained asylum, showcasing resilience, determination, and the transformative power of NSLAC free legal aid.  

Defying Oppression and Fighting for Freedom 

From Service to Safety, a Journey of Hope 

A Journey from Fear to Freedom 

 

TPS for Ukraine

TPS for Ukraine: Frequently Asked Questions

TPS for Ukraine: Frequently Asked Questions

Free Legal Immigration Services

In response to Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia and extraordinary conditions that prevent the safe return of tens of thousands of Ukrainians, the Department of Homeland Security has extended and redesignated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This extension opens the door for an additional 166,700 Ukrainians to obtain work permits and protection against deportations. North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic provides free legal immigration services to residents of north suburban Cook County, IL, or Lake County, IL, looking to file TPS for Ukraine.

What is TPS?

Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security when the conditions of a foreign country temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely or where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. This may be because of ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster or epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

When do I apply for TPS?

You can apply for TPS during the registration period determined by USCIS.

For Ukraine, the registration period is August 21, 2023 to April 19, 2025.

How do I apply for TPS?

File Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status along with all necessary evidence and fees (or fee waiver form) with USCIS. The filing can either be done online or through the mail. If you also want to apply for employment authorization, you will need to file form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with the necessary evidence and fees (or fee waiver form). The forms, breakdown of fees, instructions for mailing, and other information can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status.

Can I file one TPS I-821 form for my entire family?

No, each person who qualifies for TPS must submit a separate Form I-821. This includes minor children and spouses.

What do I need to file for TPS?

You need identity/nationality evidence, date of entry evidence, and continuous residence evidence.

Examples include:

  • Identity/Nationality: copy of your passport, copy of your birth certificate, and/or any national identity document that has your photograph.
  • Date of Entry: copy of your passport, I-94 Arrival/Departure Record; or copies of documents specified in the Continuous Residence section below.
  • Continuous Residence: leases, utility bills, medical records, mailed correspondence, letters from church/organization to confirm that they have been present in the U.S., etc.

These must include the appropriate dates and the name of the applicant.

Continuous residence requirement starts on August 16, 2023.

How long does TPS take to receive after filing?

Processing times vary greatly depending on country of origin and backlog. You can typically expect to wait between 6 and 18 months.

What are the benefits of TPS?

  • You are not removable from the United States and cannot be detained based on your immigration status.
  • You can obtain employment authorization (EAD.)
  • You may be granted travel authorization.

Can I travel overseas?

You may be granted travel authorization whether you have a pending TPS case, or you have been granted TPS. You must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, while in the U.S. If your request to travel is granted, you will be issued a travel document.

Can I receive public benefits if I have TPS?

You are not eligible for public benefits as a TPS beneficiary, but you may receive public benefits if you maintain parole status while on TPS.

Can I go to school while on TPS?

Yes, TPS beneficiaries can attend colleges and universities while in the U.S. If, however, your TPS status ends while you’re in school, you will need another status (like a student visa) to continue your program.

Is TPS permanent status?

It is not a permanent status and does not lead to lawful permanent residency or citizenship. It is, however, renewable until the Department of Homeland Security terminates the TPS designation for your country.

How can I get permanent status?

To get permanent status, you will need to qualify and apply for a method of relief, such as asylum or a family petition. TPS does not prevent you from applying for other statuses.

How do I maintain TPS status?

Once you are granted TPS, you must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain your status. This means you will complete and file the Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status form during the re-registration period.

Can I ever lose TPS status?

If you travel abroad without receiving travel authorization, you could lose your TPS status. Additionally, if you fail to re-register during the re-registration window, you could also lose status. Lastly, if DHS terminates the program for your country, your status will end.

I already have work authorization. Should I apply for TPS?

Because you can apply for TPS while you have another status, it can be used as a “backup status.” TPS will only end if DHS stops extending the program to your country, so it is typically renewable for many years. If you have TPS as a “backup status” and something happens to your other status that provides your work authorization, you won’t be removable and will remain in lawful status.

What happens if my TPS application is not processed before my current status expires?

While your TPS application is pending, you will not accrue unlawful status. Once your TPS is approved, you will be authorized to work.

 If I am granted TPS, when do I need to renew my TPS status?

On your TPS approval notice, there will be an expiration date that indicates when you need to renew. We recommend you file your renewal at least 6 months prior to the expiration date.

What if I have other questions?

This FAQ guide is meant to provide general information. We recommend speaking with a qualified immigration attorney about your options.

Can NSLAC help me apply for TPS?

Yes. Making legal assistance accessible to all communities is our priority. NSLAC hosts TPS clinics regularly and in a variety of accessible locations, ensuring that residents of north suburban Cook County and Lake County have convenient access to these vital services. If you or someone you know needs legal assistance, please be in touch with NSLAC at 847 737 4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org. NSLAC also offers free legal services in the areas of housing and domestic violence. Interpreters are available upon request in all languages. Services are available regardless of immigration status.

Harper College Learning and Career Center, Free Immigration Consultations

NSLAC is pleased to partner with Harper College to offer personal and confidential immigration consultations and general legal guidance to Harper College students. Appointments are available in English, Spanish, Korean, Polish and Russian. To schedule an appointment, please call 847 925 6001. See flyer for more details.

Location: Harper College Community and Career Center, 1375 S. Wolf Rd, Prospect Heights, IL 60070

Time and Dates: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM

  • Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023
  • Tuesday, November 7th, 2023
  • Tuesday, December 5th, 2023
  • Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024
  • Tuesday, February 6th, 2024
  • Tuesday, March 5th, 2024
  • Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024
  • Tuesday, May 7th, 2024
  • Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

 

McHenry County College, Free Immigration Legal Consultation

NSLAC is pleased to partner with McHenry County College to offer free 30-minute immigration consultations to MCC students. Consultations are in-person and virtual.

For in-person sessions, contact Marcos Saldivar, Undocumented Student Liaison, at msaldivar6043@mchenry.edu or call (815) 479-7749. In-person sessions are available the 2nd Wednesday of every month, from 2–4 p.m.

For virtual sessions, contact Lia Kim-Yi at info@nslegalaid.org or call (847) 737-4042. Sessions are available Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

All consultations are confidential.

Village of Mount Prospect, Free Virtual Legal Aid Clinic

In partnership with the Village of Mount Prospect, NSLAC offers monthly free virtual legal aid clinics to low-income individuals in the areas of domestic violence, housing, and immigration. Registration is required.

Time and Date: The second Thursday of every month

Location: Community Connection Center, 1711 W. Algonquin Rd., Mount Prospect IL

To schedule an appointment, contact the Human Service Department at 847-506 4930

New Trier Township, Free Virtual Legal Aid Consultations

 

In partnership with New Trier Township, NSLAC offers monthly free legal aid clinics to low-income individuals in the areas of domestic violence, housing, and immigration.

Clinics are virtual, but individuals have the option to access meetings on Township computers at New Trier Township Hall, located at 739 Elm Street.

Time and Date: The third Wednesday of each month, from 10:00 AM to noon. Appointments are required. 

To schedule a consultation, visit www.NewTrierTownship.com, call the township at 847-446-8202 or call NSLAC at 847-737-4042.