Chicago is home to a multitude of nonprofit organizations that are either dedicated to serving the needs of immigrants, or include such services as part of their operations. A small sampling of such organizations, including a brief description of their operations, appears below:
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
access to public benefits, including SNAP benefits (“food stamps”);
referrals to legal, ministry, and social services; and
access to higher education
Chicago-Kent College of Law Immigration Clinic
The Chicago-Kent College of Law is an accredited, stand-alone graduate-level law school whose graduates can be found throughout the legal profession in Illinois and beyond. The Law Group Immigration Clinic represents individuals and families in family-based immigration, humanitarian relief, and deportation defense removal defense throughout the United States. Consultations cost $50.00 per case. If one of our attorneys agrees to represent you, his or her services will be priced at below-market, flat-fee rates.
Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA)
The CMAA’s Citizenship and Immigration Program helps immigrants transition into US citizens who make active contributions to their communities. The CMAA provides low-cost immigration services for immigrants from all over the world, not only China.
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
The Council on American-Islamic Relations maintains office throughout the United States, including Chicago. CAIR-Chicago actively works with immigrants in insecure status, such as refugees, to help them attain permanent immigration status in the US. CAIR’s Civil Rights Department is particularly focused on asylum applications for refugees who come from high-crime or war-torn regions. Asylum applicants are typically from Syria and Egypt) and include many white-collar workers.
The Indo-American Center provides a wide variety of immigration-related services in English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati and Punjabi. The Center heps immigrants complete forms, file them with the USCIS, register, and represent them before the Board of Immigration Appeals if their petitions are rejected and they decide to appeal.
The Center also offers citizenship classes, English language classes, and referrals to sources of public benefits such as Social Security. For all services, representation is discretionary, and at least a nominal fee is charged
Justice for Our Neighbors
Justice for Our Neighbors is an immigration ministry established by the Methodist Church. It provides free or low-cost immigration law services to low-income immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.
National Immigrant Justice Center
The National Immigrant Justice Center provides free legal information to people without an attorney who is scheduled to appear before the Chicago Immigration Court. The Center places special emphasis on helping immigrants who entered the US as unaccompanied minors. The Center also takes a special interest in providing legal services to gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender immigrants and immigrants who have tested HIV positive. The Center also provides free legal representation to asylum seekers who fear persecution if they return home.
The mission of the Pan-African Association is to promote the integration of immigrants, refugees, and asylees, especially those from Africa. It aims to help Chicago’s refugees and immigrants come together as a close-knit support group. The Pan-African Association provides mentorships, workshops, and support groups. The Association seeks to build connections between refugees and Chicagoans while at the same time maintaining their native cultural heritage.
It is commonly said, perhaps not without justification, that Chicago is home to more Polish people than any city in the world except Warsaw. The Polish-American Association seeks to represent and assist Poles living in Chicago. Its migration service department was established in 1985 and currently serves hundreds of clients every month. These services include:
N-400 citizenship applications;
applications for permanent residence;
applications to immigrate family members in Poland;
general immigration assistance;
document translation; and
The Polish-American Association is licensed to perform immigration services by the city of Chicago.
RefugeeOne is dedicated to assisting refugees to the United States by providing them with survival skills as well as a full range of interrelated services including resettlement, ESK training, workforce development, mental health services, and job skills services.