Immigration clinic offers assistance


A one-day Immigration Clinic will be offered at NIU this weekend for people who have achieved resident alien status.

The Hispanic Law Student Association (HLSA) and Offices of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) will be sponsoring the clinic from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at University Resources for Latinos, 515 Garden Road.

The clinic also will be for those who have begun their quest for U.S. citizenship in their former homeland by filling out a visa and going through inspections. It is for people who are documented, legal residents of the United States.

The clinic will help participants interested in obtaining “green cards,” applying for naturalization or petitioning a visa for alien relatives. Bilingual interpreters in Spanish and Vietnamese, as well as INS officials, will be there to answer questions.

“This is the first clinic that we’re going to sponsor here,” said Maria Rodriguez, an NIU law student and member of HLSA who is helping organize the event. “It’s good for the community and it’s good for us as a learning experience. It gives us a chance to see the inner workings of a federal agency.”

Guadalupe Luna, an assistant professor in the College of Law, said the clinic is for the whole community. She commended all the students involved. “I cannot overemphasize how the students took this upon themselves. They get all the credit,” she said.

The Alien Registration Receipt Card, more popularly known as the “green card,” allows a resident alien to stay in this country for a certain number of years.

Employers are cautioned that they might receive a visit from INS officials later. “In theory, everyone there should be authorized to be in this country, but, in practice, someone might filter in.

“Their (INS) history is not very friendly. You can’t fault them. They’re in control of undocumented entry, but they’re punitive in their approach oftentimes, and oftentimes civil rights and civil liberties have been abused.”