Some Quick Notes on Immigrants

Dear Community Members,

We hope you are protecting yourselves from contracting COVID-19. This is a difficult time.

Just so you’ll know, we haven’t stopped our services – we are helping immigrants, including refugees, find apartments, jobs, household goods, food, medical care, clothing, etc.; we also are funding immigrants for various applications (green cards, work authorization, low-bono attorney fees, etc.), and are still mentoring and keeping in touch with all of our clients.

As you know, we can always use help. Since so many of our clients are now out of work, their needs are increasing. We are applying for grants and seeking new resource possibilities. Soon we will be sending out a request to you for assistance in funding – we hate to ask more of you than you already do, but these are special times and our clients’ needs are so great. (In the meantime, we do have PayPal on our website: bloomingtonrefugees.org.)

We give our great thanks to Donna Lafferty, for her wonderful volunteer work as treasurer; she has had to step down from this role for various reasons, and we will miss her! If you know of someone who might be able to take on this role (BRSN’s accounting method is via checkbook), please let us know. The treasurer will be assisted by 3 other volunteers.

Our thanks to St. Thomas Lutheran Church for its hosting of our clothing drive for refugees in Indy (they sorted, washed, and mended!). We sent in so much clothing that they said they are full in Indy! And also thank you to First Presbyterian Church for their collection and delivery of household cleaners and cleaning tools for our clients.

Finally, as you may have noticed, I have not included an “Events of Interest”, given that everything is being cancelled. HOWEVER, to help you pass the time during this isolating period, here are two great links. One is to stream Metropolitan Operas (thanks Peter!):  https://operawire.com/metropolitan-opera-to-offer-up-nightly-met-opera-streams/ ; the other is to stream some of the great Broadway plays (thanks Rosemary!): https://www.insider.com/stream-broadway-musicals-plays-for-free-online-limited-time-coronavirus-2020-3

In the meantime, take care, everyone, and stay safe,
Diane Legomsky, Chair,
Bloomington Refugee Support Services  

Announcements Regarding Immigrants

March 5, 2020

Dear Community Members,

On the attached “Events of Interest”, you’ll see many excellent events (some, unfortunately, at the same time). And you’ll note that BRSN will hold an informational table at the Social Justice Fair on April 9 at 8:15 p.m. If you are able to help staff it, please let me know. And a brief update on BRSN’s work these last few weeks: We have been especially busy with medical needs of immigrants, rides to Indy and to Chicago for sessions with low-bono attorneys and federal interviews and hearings, funds for the attorneys and (skyrocketing) application fees, and helping immigrants find resources from food to household goods to clothing.

First, a SPECIAL NOTICE: BRSN will hold a SPECIAL MEETING on March 11, at 7:00 p.m. Location is: Bloomingfoods East, Community Room. This meeting will be held in order to invite your input into services we are, or should be, providing to immigrants; it is also to see who might be able to assist in some of these services.

PLEASE NOTE: Help is especially needed now, as will be explained at the meeting. If you can attend this meeting, would you RSVP at: bloomingtonrefugees@gmail.com. We appreciate it!

Note that, if you are able to attend but others in your group (faith group, agency, office, etc.) are not able, we hope you will attend and bring information from the meeting back to them.

As you know, BRSN is a completely volunteer organization, with all funds going to the immigrants. We need your assistance in continuing these services. The federal government is not contributing but, rather, is adding, to the expenses in caring for our vulnerable immigrant population.

There is an attachment specific to this meeting, listing BRSN services and ways in which you can help.

MARCH 8 SPRING CLEANING DRIVE FOR REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS: First Presbyterian Church is holding a spring cleaning drive to assist refugees and asylum seekers through BRSN and Exodus.  They anticipate filling 12 buckets with cleaning supplies, as they did last year.  Their address is: 221 E 6th St., and entrance to parking lot is on 7th St.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING FOR ADULTS, provided by the MCCSC: Offered at Broadview Learning Center, 705 W. Coolidge Drive. A wide variety of English classes are available for adults, at many different levels. Participants are asked to register in person at the Broadview Learning Center on the following dates/times: Thursday, March 12, at 9:00 am or Friday, March 13, at 12:30 pm. Please pass this information on to anyone you may know who is in need of English or business–English skills. Contact information: Phone (812)330-7731, Web: www.mccsc.edu/adulted Facebook: Broadview Learning Center.

IMMIGRANT SEEKING HELP: An immigrant who has been working as hard as possible, and asking for as little as possible, is now having a difficult time. She has started a GoFundMe project, and this is the link to it:  
https://www.gofundme.com/f/p24hj8-in-urgent-need-of-a-vehicle

Thank you again for all your help these past 2 years. We hope to see you on the 11th!

Attachments: Events of Interest; Volunteer Services Needed

Take care,
Diane Legomsky, Chair
Bloomington Refugee Support Network

February News Regarding Immigrants

Dear Community Members,

January has been a very busy month. BRSN has been honored to assist new immigrants with attorney fees, rides to Indy to meet with attorneys, and rides locally for needed resources, medical services, hosting, and some needed hand-holding. The immigrants we’ve been able to help include African, Latino, Ueghur, and Kurdish individuals.

IMPORTANT MEETING FOR BRSN COMMUNITY:

If you are able to assist with any one of over 20 BRSN services, we invite you to a special meeting to discuss these services and what role you might be able to play. The meetings will be held on Wednesday, March 4 and on Wednesday, March 11. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. (It is the same meeting, held on two different dates, to accommodate people’s schedules.) Location is TBA. If you are able to attend, RSVP to: bloomingtonrefugees@gmail.com.

ADVOCACY: On the national level, things have not been more horrifying. There are so many terribly harmful and fully nonsensical policies against which we can advocate, that I have put them on a separate (attached) document. Because of the severity of some of these policies, I’m also attaching a list of Contact Information for Elected Officials. (Thanks to Christie, Gracia, and Pete for the alerts!)

And NOTE: The deadline for responding to USCIS (massive) fee increases is TOMORROW, Feb. 10 (see Advocacy attachment).


ITEMS AVAILABLE FOR PICK-UP: If any immigrants whom you are helping need items:

2 dressers, love seat, end table, coffee table, full bed with frame, pull-out couch, sleeper sofa, dinette set, several couches and tables, and many place settings, wooden TV stand and a 5 x 7 foot rug.

The items are free, but must be picked up; we have the information on when and where for each item; and BRSN should be able to help with pick-up and delivery.

JOBS: If you are aware of any immigrants needing employment (from part-time to full-time) please notify us. Also, please let us know if the person speaks English.

BRSN INTERN: We are happy to announce an excellent intern from PACE and SPEA. She is Maddy Easling, and has nonprofit experience and interests. Some of you may be hearing from Maddy regarding assistance for immigrants in the community.

SPECIAL THANKS: We would like to thank Malcolm Abrams, publisher and editor of BLOOM MAGAZINE, who has so often and so effectively helped BRSN in regard to fundraising, publicity, and advocacy. As you will see in the latest issue of Bloom (Feb.-March 2020) he has singled us out for our work in charitable diversity action. He also, in this latest issue, has printed an excellent editorial by Attorney Christie Popp regarding ICE in Monroe County.

We also are extremely grateful to SECRETLY GROUP, a quiet, sometimes behind-the-scenes organization. It is a family of American independent and highly successful record labels based right here in Bloomington. Their generous grant has enabled us to assist immigrants in so many ways, including attorney fees and the ever-rising costs for asylum- and other immigrant-related applications.

HELP NEEDED IN OFFERING FREE TAX SERVICES:

The United Way free community tax services program for low to moderate income residents has an urgent need for fluent Spanish-speaking volunteers to help with tax preparation from now until mid-April!  The tax prep clinic in Spanish takes place in Bloomington City Hall Saturday mornings 9 am-12:00.  Training is provided.  For more information and to volunteer, please contact Amy Leyenbeck at amy@monroeunitedway.org or 812-334-8370.

IN CLOSING: Your help and generosity, as always, is more appreciated than words can say. Because of you, more of our clients are receiving asylum, citizenship, and crucial legal assistance toward obtaining these statuses, as well as food, and medical, household, and other resources.

We also are grateful to all the volunteers who visit with and drive immigrants to the resource agencies in town, and for the mentoring and care, which mean so very much to immigrants fleeing horrific violence and tragedy, and in great need of safety and friendship.

ATTACHMENTS: Contact Information for Elected Officials, Advocacy for February 2020, Events of Interest for February and March 2020, Letter from Cole (Cole Varga, Executive Director of Exodus in Indianapolis)

Take care,
Diane Legomsky, Chair
Bloomington Refugee Support Network, Inc.

Refugee Resettlement Update and El Centro Announcement

Dear Community Members,

As you know from the news broadcasts, President Trump’s proposed policy of giving state and local government the right to bar refugee resettlement in their state or municipality has been overturned. We expect that more refugees will be allowed to resettle in Indiana and hopefully, after the 2020 November election, in Bloomington!

We have been able to help more and more immigrants, with application fees, pro bono attorney fees, and help with housing and other needs. There is a wonderful  group of volunteers working so hard for the immigrants in our community, and so many churches and NGO’s have been carrying out drives, educational programs (where we have helped a bit with speakers and informational materials.) But to help financially, which of course is necessary for the newcomers, we are grateful to Malcom Abrams of Bloom Magazine for his gala fundraiser, and we also are grateful to Donald Van Arnem and the foundation, Secretly Group. They have made it possible for us to help others.

I will be away until sometime Tuesday the 21st, but if you e-mail bloomingtonrefugees@gmail.com, any questions, needs, etc. will be addressed.

Finally, we have a wonderful announcement regarding El Centro Comunal Latino:

There will be an Open House celebrating the inauguration of the new office of El Centro Comunal Latino 2-4 pm on Monday, Jan. 20th, Martin Luther King Day!  El Centro is in Room 206 of the Monroe County Public Library, 303 E. Kirkwood Ave. (2nd floor, off the Indiana Room).  Come meet the El Centro staff and board members while enjoying food, games, prizes, and dialogue!  

We hope you can attend the Open House. If not, we hope you can drop by El Centro soon – you will be delighted to learn about their many services!

Our thanks to all of you for your incredible help, commitment, and compassion.

Take care,
Diane Legomsky, Chair, BRSN

Update on Refugees and Immigrants, 2020

Dear Community Members,   

First, a heartfelt congratulations and thank you for the truly wonderful help you have given to immigrants (asylum seekers, Dreamers …) in the Bloomington area, in Indy, and globally. In addition to the unimaginable desperation and danger to the immigrants at our southern border, there are individuals and groups from many populations seeking refuge and asylum here. Through your help, they have received  legal assistance, application and medical fees, transportation, interpreters, housing, food, clothing and other resources and, especially important, comfort and friendship. And, because of all the different ways in which you have given, many immigrants now have obtained certificates of naturalization /citizenship, and others are on a hopeful course toward asylum.  Laws, policies, and attitudes may change, but not the people who need help, and not the commitment of all of you.

The needs of refugees and immigrants do not stop in the winter. On the attached sheet, you will find descriptions of ways to help them. Below is a brief summary:        

WINTER CLOTHING DRIVE: .St. Thomas Lutheran Church (3800 E 3rd St.) and St. Paul’s Catholic Center (1413 E. 17th St.) will partner with BRSN to collect winter coats, gloves/mittens, scarves and hats, especially for MEN and CHILDREN, and also for women, through January.

ADDITIONAL ORGANIZATIONS THAT HELP IMMIGRANTS AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER:
MICA (Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project), and
HIAS (Hebrew Immigration Aid Society):

ADVOCACY NEEDED NOW (our thanks to Christie Popp for the notice!) Our government is proposing ADDITIONAL bars to asylum. The attached five documents give you information on how to advocate (“comment”), the proposals, their background, and so forth. Each document is fairly long, so you might want to simply view them on your computer.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP BRSN (donation, or other help such as hosting, driving immigrants around town to find resources (we would supply you with the locations), interpret, etc., please let us know.)

Thank you again for the wonderful work you are doing. More immigrants come each week, and it is so fulfilling to be working with you to help them however we can.

ATTACHMENTS (for those who wish to download them): Needs of Refugees and Immigrants; (the rest regard the advocacy movement to prevent the additional bars to asylum): Procedures for Public Comment, Asylum Eligibility, Background of Asylum Eligibility, PROPOSED REGULATORY CHANGES IN ASYLUM ELIGIBILITY, REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS OF PROPOSED ADDITIONAL BARS TO ASYLUM, Sample Comments on Proposal Asylum Rules.

Take good care, and let’s hope humanitarian immigration policies!

Diane Legomsky, Chair, Bloomington Refugee Support Network

New Events and Information on Immigrants

Dear Community Members,

We have been fortunate to welcome into the community many new individuals from several South American and Arabic nations. Your financial and other volunteer help has been so needed, and so appreciated.

EVENTS OF INTEREST THIS WEEK: Please read the Events of Interest (attached) – there are several this week, including tomorrow evening.

CHRISTMAS PARTY: This year, a community member (Thanks, Linda H.!) has offered to host at her home a Christmas party (Dec. 15 at 1:30). Given the diversity of our group, including volunteers and new immigrants, you may wonder why we have chosen this holiday. The main reason is that it is such an established and traditional celebration that it will assist in our goal of introducing new arrivals to some of the customs here, and of course will be of interest to many immigrants here who have asked about this holiday. There will be popcorn stringing, to games, to gifts, to singing and dancing, to a gingerbread house, and to (lots of) food – needless to say, children are especially welcome! A special invitation will be sent out – please let those families with whom you’re volunteering know about this, and know that they are ESPECIALLY welcome.

INDUSTRY CERTIFICATIONS: Some of the MCCSC Adult Education English language classes offer industry-recognized certifications, such as Early Childhood Education, Microsoft Office, and Entrepreneurship & Small Business. For registration, see Events of Interest, attached.

FURNITURE AVAILABLE:  There is a stroller available, appropriate for a 1- to 3-year old. (Thanks Ann!) Also available is a good-condition sleeper-sofa, a floor lamp, and a table lamp (Thanks Kathryn!)

NEW LOCATION FOR EL CENTRO COMUNAL LATINO: The El Centro Comunal Latino will close on November 4 and will be located temporarily in the VITAL Collections (VITAL Resource Room) area, also at the MCPL. Tutoring sessions will take place there 5:00-7:00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  El Centro will reopen in its new office space located in Room 205 off the Indiana Room on November 15.

CONTINUED RESTRICTIONS FOR IMMIGRANTS: There are continued obstacles and restrictions (including obstacles and delays in obtaining work authorization) for immigrants, and a clear bias against entry of Muslim-majority nations, even though such cannot be formally stated. Families are still separated, children still traumatized, and immigrants hoping to work are unable to obtain authorization to do so. As a result, your help, including hosting individuals and families, as well as your financial and other volunteer assistance, is as needed now as much as ever. In addition, your advocacy is still needed. Writing and calling elected representatives is always helpful, reminding them that our nation, so strong and resourceful, can resume its leadership role by admitting and welcoming immigrants.

In the meantime, our deepest thanks for all you have done – and you have done a great deal! Let’s hope our officials will open up their hearts and their minds to the needs of the immigrants and to the benefits that the immigrants bring. And, if you’d like to see the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, they are: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

BTW, if you would like to invite an immigrant or immigrant family to your Thanksgiving dinner, please let us know (bloomingtonrefugees@gmail.com).

Attachments: EVENTS OF INTEREST FOR NOVEMBER 2019

Take good care,
Diane Legomsky, Chair
Bloomington Refugee Support Network

October News and Events Regarding Immigrants

Dear Community Members,

After spending two weeks in Greece (and missing the chance to be in correspondence with you), I’d like to update you a bit on Greek refugees. Many of the camps have been closed, generally because of unliveable conditions (regarding safety, health, food, medical care, etc.). The refugees, in those camps, have been placed in apartments. It was not possible to meet with them, and I did not want to push my presence onto anyone. I did meet with a large group of Syrian refugees, in a housing complex near Thermopylae in the Peloponnese. They seemed basically healthy (but I am no doctor nor nutritionist), although they were extremely shy and quiet. They did seem eager to return smiles and to shake hands (well, really, to touch hands). It is impossible to comprehend or accept the level of failure of the U.S. to fulfill even a fraction of its responsibility to resettle refugees here – we have the resources, and we are not “out of room”.

Also, a big thank-you to Rosemary Hart for stepping in, so effectively, during my absence, as well as to all those who took care of helping immigrants living here and to all those who took care of financial assistance and consulting for them. This was such a great group effort!

PREEMPTIVE LOVE: It is exciting to notify you of a new student chapter (IU) of a great national organization, Preemptive Love. This national coalition, stretching across Iraq, Syria, the U.S., and beyond, working together to unmake violence and create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. On the attached Events of Interest, please see their Syrian Culture and Cooking Night this coming Monday evening (Oct. 28). www.preemptivelove.org

FURNITURE: Thanks to the generosity of our members, we now have the following items available at no cost: infant car seat with seatbelt, child car seat with seatbelt, sofabed in good condition, floor lamp, table lamp, and a desktop Xerox machine. If you or an organization is in need of any of these items, please let me know.

CONCERT ON LOVE AND EXILE: from the Director of Community Engagement for Indiana University’s Singing Hoosiers. Their Fall concert is coming up, and its themes surround that of Love and Exile. They have established a great partnership with Zeshan Bagewaldi and will be performing his song Brown Power (see below) with him. Their organization feels that it is extremely important to put action behind the words and messaging of Brown Power, and the Bloomington Refugee Support Network was invited to co-sponsor this beautiful event.

CAREER IN HEALTH CARE: Robert Moore, of MCCSC has notified us of the following class, as well as other critical services, all of which are free.

There will be an adult education class, helping attendees to become certified and employed as home health aides.  This training is in partnership with Elders Journey. For registration and further Information: Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Call (812) 330-7731 to sign up!

Also, their partners at WorkOne (www.workonesouthcentral.org), the IU School of Social Work, Ivy Tech, and the military branches offer supportive services to help immigrants achieve their goals:

 Life coaching
 Career advising and employment placement
 Transportation assistance
 Child care voucher applications
 Placement into further training

NOTE: The BRSN has volunteer drivers and interpreters available to accompany immigrants to these classes.

BROWN POWER MOVEMENT:

movement in the 1960s that advocated for Brown Power, rights for Mexican-Americans and Immigrants in general. The movement was derived from the Civil Rights Movements as it fought for the equality of a minority. For further information, go to https://www.sutori.com/story/brown-power-movement–j2HrsCdSH9YpysPavqJ7f5fC

ADVOCACY:  (A) It seems that the federal government is staying busy creating more burdens and obstacles for immigrants and refugees. Thanks to Christie Popp, C. W. Poole, and ACLU, the following items of great concern have been brought to our attention. We hope you will contact U.S. legislators, as well as Attorney General Barr and President Trump (let us know if you need addresses or phone contacts).

(B) DELAY IN EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION: Under current law, asylum-seekers may petition for employment authorization documents if 150 days have passed since they filed their full asylum application, unless they are responsible for any delays in the process, and they have not received a decision on their applications. Asylees have the immediate right to work with or without the documents, though many choose to obtain the documents for purposes of convenience or to identify themselves, according to USCIS.

Even the 150-day wait time can put asylum-seekers in dire financial straits: “homeless, unable to feed themselves and their children, and struggling to get health care,” according to an April report from Human Rights First.

(C) DOJ INCREASES POWER OF AGENCY RUNNING IMMIGRATION COURT SYSTEM

Under the interim rule announced Friday, the agency’s director will have the power to issue appellate decisions in immigration cases that have not been decided within an allotted timeframe. It also creates a new office of policy within EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) to implement the administration’s immigration policies. For more information, google EOIR Immigration.

(D) CARRP:

Millions of aspiring Americans apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) each year. But under a previously unknown national security program known as the “Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program” (CARRP), the government excludes many applicants from Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities from these opportunities by delaying and denying their applications without legal authority. Learn more about CARRP and how it has harmed the naturalization process: aclusocal.org/en/carrp

In closing, the BRSN continues to assist immigrants and refugees with financial needs, employment referrals, food and other necessities, drivers, interpreters, hosts and, simply, a hand in friendship. As always, we are so grateful to all of you who have done so much in financial and volunteer assistance. Because of you, immigrants, traumatized and battered in their home country and on their trek to the U.S., are able to have a basically safe home for themselves and their children, and a community that welcomes them.

Attachments: EVENTS-OF-INTEREST-Late-October-and-Early-November-2019

Enjoy the beautiful autumn,
Diane Legomsky, Chair, Bloomington Refugee Support Network

News on Refugees and Other Updates

Dear Community Members,

We wish we had a lot of good news for you. While we’ve been able to help immigrant families with supplemental funding for housing, applications, attorney fees, and have been able to provide local drivers and drivers to Indy and Chicago, as well as other paths to familiarity and comfort in Bloomington, nevertheless there have been terrible developments on the federal level.

GHASTLY POLICY IS IMMINENT REGARDING REFUGEES: (From HIAS – Hebrew Immigration Aid Society): The Trump Administration announced that it intends to lower the refugee admissions ceiling for Fiscal Year 2020 to 18,000. This tragically low number holds severe consequences for the U.S. Resettlement Program and our historic commitment to welcome. 
Even worse is a new executive order signed by the president, allowing states and municipalities the unprecedented power to veto refugee resettlement – effectively a state-by-state, city-by-city refugee ban.

Urgent action is needed:

Share HIAS’ public statements on the proposed refugee ceiling and the Executive Order

Send a message to your Members of Congress asking them to speak out on behalf of higher refugee admissions 

Call your governors and mayors to ensure that they will welcome refugees in their states and communities, in response to the new Executive Order. 

The new limit—just slightly more than half the number of refugees accepted during the current fiscal year—is in line with the administration’s crackdown on all forms of immigration. It comes as the number of refugees fleeing violence and persecution around the world has swelled to 71 million people, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the highest number of displaced people since World War II.

NOTE FROM BRSN: These policies both mirror existing trends in Europe, and at the same time inspire the expansion and intractability of movements in Europe and elsewhere. Never has there been a more critical time to fight hard for refugees and immigrants to find shelter in this country and in Bloomington itself where, with all of us working together, we have shown that we can support them, and give them safety, health, comfort, and friendship.

Bear in mind that the U.S. has certainly done its share, via its environmental, economic, and military policies, to create this crisis. Our global leadership role, our most basic human compassion, and our deepest moral sense do compel us to fight these inhumane policies, and to do it now. This will impact displaced persons all over the globe – 71 million suffering people. Attached is a sheet of advocacy templates and also the contact information for national and Indiana District 9 state legislators.

IDENTITARIANISM IN THE U.S.: The political group, Indivisible, and the national NGO — Southern Poverty Law Center (which tracks extremist and hate groups throughout the U.S.), have been researching Identitarianism in the U.S. Our Network (BRSN) is concerned with discrimination and hate at all times, but particularly, of course, when it impacts, or threatens to impact, the refugees, asylum seekers, Dreamers, and other immigrants seeking a safe home here in the U.S. Check out: Indivisible and SPLC — Identitarianism

THE BORDER IS HERE — LOCAL ENFORCEMENT LAWS: On a different note but quite critical, is dealing with the impact of local immigration enforcement. There will be a public discussion on Wed., Nov. 6, from 7-8:30 at the MCPL (see Events of Interest, attached).

ESL AND CAREER CERTIFICATIONS: The next new student registration for English language learners is this week, October 3 and 4.  

Some of our English language classes offer industry-recognized certifications, such as Early Childhood Education, Microsoft Office, and Entrepreneurship & Small Business!

Contact:          Rob Moore, Director of Adult Education
MCCSC, Broadview Learning Center
705 W. Coolidge Dr., Bloomington, IN 47403
Phone 812-330-7731

P.S. I will be away in Greece Oct. 5 – 17, and hope to meet with some of the refugees and immigrants there (Greece’s refugee camps have been in disastrous shape, but the govt. there is moving refugees to apartments.) In May 2018, the number of refugees and migrants in Greece stood at more than 60,000, including about 14,000 on the islands. Smaller country than ours, much tougher economic circumstances, but they are doing so much more than us.

Because we are all working hard and working together, our community will continue to take good care of immigrants in our community. You already have done so much, and have made the world a better place. Let’s never give up the challenge!

ATTACHMENTS: Events of Interest; CJAM Gala; Advocacy Templates; Contact Information

Thank you for everything you’ve done, and take good care,
Diane Legomsky, Chair
Bloomington Refugee Support Network, Inc.

Fall Update on Immigrants

Dear Community Members,

September is always an extremely busy month in Bloomington, and this year is no different. The BRSN has had the honor and happiness of helping numerous immigrant families in the community with attorney fees, rides to Indy for govt. appointments and attorney sessions, application fees,  job connections along with resume building, and consultations on resources and other opportunities.

We’ve also learned of many additional opportunities, which we list below.

UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FOR ADULT EDUCATION: If you’re working with an adult who needs a high school credential, the MCCSC Adult Education is doing New Student Orientation. They can help adults study for the high school equivalency tests. Last year, they had over 150 adults do just that!

Morning, afternoon, and evening classes are available in several locations. They can help find resource for childcare, transportation, and other barriers participants may have been facing.

Interested adults should call (812) 330-7731 and see what a difference this can make in someone’s life! Please feel free to share with others!

Robert D. Moore Director of Adult Education
Monroe County Community School Corporation
Broadview Learning Center

SALE OF AFRICAN-INSPIRED ARTWORK:  This year there will be another fall holiday sale of Kenyan and African-inspired handblown glass, jewelry, cloth items, basketry, etc.  Due to increasing costs of selling at the IM Union, this year the sale will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church at Fee Lane and the Bypass on Friday, Nov. 15th between 11 and 7pm in Room 208, a spacious sunny location.  And parking is free, so you loyalists who braved the expensive Union lot will be particularly happy about that!  The prices are very reasonable, the selection excellent after the Oct. Kenyan trip.  We’ll also be selling at the UU Bazaar in early Dec. at our booth, but the display is limited by space.  We hope to see everyone there–have fun while doing good!  For questions, call Claire Robertson at 812-336-3696 before Oct. 15. 

SPECIAL THANKS TO BLOOM MAGAZINE AND TO ART RE-SALE:  We are very grateful to Bloom Magazine for their beautiful and exciting gala in August. The BRSN was the special recipient of all donations, which helped us immensely in serving the needs of local immigrants. We wish to thank University Baptist Church, St. Thomas Lutheran Church, and Beth Shalom Congregation for their amazing Art Re-Sale event in August. They were kind enough to include BRSN as a recipient of the proceeds from their generous members’ donations of artwork, sold to the community.

OPPOSE THE EXPANSION OF FAST-TRACK REMOVALS: The Trump administration recently announced a policy that would fast-track the deportation of thousands of immigrants by massively expanding “expedited removal”, which allows the Department of Homeland Security to quickly deport individuals without a chance to speak with an attorney or have a fair day in court. The public has until September 23 to submit comments to the government opposing this policy. We invite you to personalize and submit a comment to help us halt this unnecessary policy that will threaten due process and sow fear in communities throughout the nation. Also, please let us know if you need another copy of the Contact Information for Elected Officials.

https://immigrationjustice.us/advocacy/advocacy-issues/due-process-in-court/submit-comment-fast-track-removals/

(This is a message from: Immigration Justice Campaign, an initiative of:
American Immigration Council
American Immigration Lawyers’ Association
American Immigrant Representation Project)

HUGE SELECTION OF GENTLY USED CLOTHES AND TOYS: A friend has cleaned out her girls’ gently used clothes and toys (she says “there’s enough for a village!”), and would like to offer them to refugee or immigrant families in need, if possible. 
Contact: Sarah Phillips

EL CENTRO’s (in MCPL) CRITICAL NEWS AND OFFERINGS:

·         El Centro Comunal Latino’s Tutoring Program for Latino children and youths in grades K-12 is being offered at the El Centro office on the second floor of the public library on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays 5:00-7:00 pm.  Volunteer tutors work with the children on their homework.  Latino parents can contact El Centro about what day/time their student is able to come for tutoring by contacting El Centro at 812-355-7513 or elcentrocomunal@gmail.com, or by texting Juanita. 

·         -Live-in Caregiver Sought to assist elderly woman with early-stage dementia, to prepare meals, do house chores, and assist with the activities of daily living.  Spanish is not needed, but Latinas with limited English are invited to apply as well as others with interest in this position.  Benefits: free rent with a private bedroom, all meals, and $1000 per month stipend.  

·         The Mexican Consular in Indianapolis is able to cover the renovation processing fees for DACA renewals when this is needed — though ONLY for Mexican nationals — in its jurisdiction which covers the southern part of Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, and all of Kentucky.  For more information individuals can contact the Mexican Consulate in Indianapolis, Daniel Carrera at ext. 114, proteccionini2@sre.gob.mx, or Mariana Torres Sojo, ext. 121, marianat@sre.gob.mx

JOHN OLIVER ON “LEGAL IMMIGRATION: For humor and reality check. (Thanks for forwarding this, Christie!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXqnRMU1fTs

ADDITIONAL ENGLISH COURSES: The Bloomington Reformed Presbyterian Church  is offering English classes for immigrants at no charge. Pastor Philip McCollum is directing the program. It is an excellent course, and highly recommended. To enroll, contact the Church Web: bloomingtonrpchurch.org Address: 302 E 1st St, Bloomington, IN 47401. Phone: (812) 339-1922

We thank you again for all your dedicated help, news, resources, and compassion – together we can help the vulnerable immigrant families in our community. They need so much, but ask for so little. We wish we could fulfill every need, but of course must disperse our financial and volunteer resources as equitably as possible.  We will be sure to keep you informed!

If you’d like to reach us, please contact us at: bloomingtonrefugees@gmail.com. Note: we also have PayPal on our website, if you wish to make a tax-deductible contribution.

Thank you again, and take care,
Diane Legomsky, Chair,
Bloomington Refugee Support Network (BRSN)

Early Fall Update on Immigrants

Dear Community Members,

It has been a busy but productive summer for us here at BRSN. We’ve worked with many immigrant families, have been able to help several individual immigrants with application fees, attorney fees, and jobs. We’ve also been the grateful recipient of several fundraisers.

FUNDRAISERS

Re-Sale Art:  art from generous donors was sold on August 18, with four beneficiaries: Congregation Beth Shalom, St. Thomas Lutheran Church, University Baptist Church, and BRSN.

Bloom Magazine, We also were the recipients of a fabulous gala by Bloom, which has always been such an advocate and supporter of BRSN and the immigrant families it serves.

Dine & Donates are our latest fundraiser, coming up (see Dine & Donate in EVENTS OF INTEREST, attached), organized by Josefa – thank you! These Dine & Donates are by King Dough Pizza and BJ’s Restaurant. We’ve attached the two Dine & Donate flyers for the participating restaurants, which you need to bring with you to the restaurant.  Please participate, and feel free to share the flyers, which are attached.

PAYPAL: We now have a Donate button our website – note that you first enter the amount, and then hit either “Paypal” or “Debit or Credit card”.

Our deepest thanks to all these generous donors!

JOBS and HOUSE TO RENT
We have rec’d notice for several job openings (ranging from contracting jobs in gardening and other yard, porch, and drainage work, housekeeping, and painting to employee positions with auto sales companies, restaurants, and IU. Also, a house is available for rent ($3,000/month) and can house up 5 people. It is a lovely home, in a very convenient eastside location.
(For jobs as contractors, we will connect you with individuals who can assist you with tax issues.)

GLOBAL CENTER EVENT – COMING UP TOMORROW! The Global Center works to connect educators, students, and the public with resources and opportunities to advance global research, teaching, and learning. They will hold an Open House tomorrow (Friday, August 30th)  in GISB 3004, 1-3 pm to share more about their funding and programmatic opportunities and to welcome you for the new year. (GISB  is on Jordan, adjacent to Wells Library.)

RIGHTS OF IMMIGRANTS: The Nat’l Immigration Law Center announced:
“To learn about the three crucial things you should know about the new regulation and how it harms immigrant families and individuals seeking a healthy, stable future in the U.S., go to the NICL website and ask for “public charge” (NILC.org). This is an inhumane and irrational regulation that seeks to punish those who receive free government assistance, such as Medicaid. And Daniel Soto sent a very valuable and reliable link to sanctuarydmv.org.

Despite some of the disheartening policies coming from the federal govt., remember that there is an ever-increasing number of organizations fighting for refugees’ and immigrants’ rights and well-being, and that, here in Bloomington, we have an enormous number of people working to help as well.

Enjoy this Labor Day week-end and its wonderful events. And thank you for all that you are doing!

Attachments: Events of Interest, Dine & Donate

Take care,
Diane Legomsky, Chair,
Bloomington Refugee Support Network