Category Archives: Reno News

Call for volunteers – help translate for low-income tax filings

We are proud to announce a partnership between the Immigration Assistance Program and Reno’s Community Services Agency to help provide Spanish-language translation support for CSA’s provision of low-income tax filing assistance through the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Volunteers must be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and bilingual in English and Spanish. Volunteer shifts will be for 2-3 hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Saturday mornings. Each shift needs 1-2 volunteers, and volunteers can work together to split the time commitment among them.

Interested individuals in Reno-Sparks are asked to contact us by commenting below or through Facebook or Twitter at our profile CCNNimmigration.



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Filed under Nevada News, Reno News

Q and A with future Hispanic leaders

We were privileged to present at the 2012 Hispanic Youth Leadership Summit presented by the University of Nevada Reno’s Center for Student Cultural Diversity. We provided some basic information about the state of undocumented immigration today, what the DREAM Act is and would offer, and what the new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process is. Our handout from the event is here.

We made time in our presentation to take questions from those present about immigration-related matters. Below are some of the questions with our responses:

What happens if I still don’t have the 4 years when I graduate from high school? Can I still apply for the DACA?

This is a common misconception that we have encountered. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is only available if you can show that you entered the United States before June 15, 2007 and were physically present in the United States for the five years until June 15, 2012 and since August 15, 2012 with only short absences if any. If you entered the U.S. after June 15, 2007 you cannot qualify for DACA no matter how long you stay here.

Does the dream act work for a trade school or does it have to be for an actual college?

To qualify for DACA you have to have earned your high school diploma, GED, or certificate of completion OR you can have been discharged honorably from the U.S. military OR you can be enrolled in an education program that will lead to a GED or job placement. Full details are available at A common misconception is that you have to remain in school to earn DACA. Continuing to attend school is only required if you did not finish high school or serve in the military. Enrollment in accredited trade and vocational schools can meet the “in school” requirement where it applies.

What can you do under the dream act? What privileges do you get?

Remember, DACA is not the same as the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act would put people on a path to Permanent Resident status and it would allow them to work, remain here with lawful status, and even travel. DACA is a two-year protection from deportation that does not create any new status. Travel may be permitted if you get approval for Advance Parole. DACA can end at any time and is only being discussed as a renewable two-year protection with work authorization.

What scholarships can I get once I have Deferred Action?

A grant of Deferred Action will not create new opportunities for federal financial aid. Individuals who are non U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents will not be put on a path toward such status simply by getting Deferred Action, and as such they will not be eligible for federal or state financial aid that is only available to those categories of individuals. Private scholarships and personal finances are still going to be key for DREAMers who want to continue their educations. Note also that the Millennium Scholarship is available to Nevada high school graduates who meet the requirements irrespective of immigration status.

If you get deferred action would it protect your parents or family? Is it good leverage?

Deferred Action only protects the grantee and does not extend to that person’s parents, siblings, spouse, etc. Undocumented individuals who have been in the United States for more than ten years may qualify to fight their deportation cases if they are placed in such a situation, and in this case having a child with Deferred Action might help as a small discretionary factor. But there is no formal or guaranteed benefit for the parents or family of a Deferred Action grantee.

Can kids fix their parents’ papers?

Again, having Deferred Action is not going to change a person’s parents’ status. A U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old may file a petition for his/her parent(s), but this is just one step in a process toward lawful status. Many undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children must leave the United States for a consular interview and in so doing they trigger an automatic ten-year punishment that can only be overcome in certain circumstances.

What if Romney becomes president? What is his policy on this issue?

Governor Romney has indicated that he does not believe the Deferred Action was the right step for President Obama to take. He has indicated that he would end the program for new applications upon taking office in January 2013, but he has also said that he would not take away the “visa” [incorrect terminology, but he means the grant of Deferred Action] from those who have already “purchased” it. This leaves it unclear what he would do with applications pending at the time he takes office.

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Filed under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Immigrant Youth, Nevada News, Reno News, Uncategorized

Next Diocesan immigration education session July 23

After a successful debut earlier this month at St. Albert’s Catholic Church in northwest Reno, the Diocese of Reno’s immigration education campaign continues at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (Pyramid and McCarran). This will take place on July 23 starting at 7:00 PM.

Join us for a powerful and informative session examining the realities of immigration and how it affects our community. We will frame this contentious issue in the framework of Catholic social teaching and invite all in attendance to share their thoughts and stories.

For more information:

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Filed under Nevada News, Reno News, Uncategorized, Undocumented Immigrants

Americorps VISTA opportunities

We are proud to announce that our Immigration Assistance Program has been approved for up to three VISTA volunteers through the federal Americorps program. We are accepting applications for these positions through July 14.

VISTAs are paid a stipend for a year of community service. At the end, they emerge from a highly respected program with a year’s worth of intensive service under their belts and the option to take a $1,500 cash award or a $5,550 education award.

The three positions available will all help launch our Legalization and Empowerment Assistance Program for Students (LEAPS), which works with public schools to identify and assist talented undocumented youth in Washoe County and guide them toward lawful immigration status wherever possible.

The three positions are for the LEAPS Outreach Coordinator, LEAPS Program Coordinator, and LEAPS Volunteer Coordinator. Please follow the embedded links for information and to apply!

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Filed under Immigrant Youth, LEAPS Program, Nevada News, Reno News, Undocumented Immigrants

Mark of a good day: three USCIS letters, three approvals

Today’s mail was a good omen — it brought three letters from USCIS bearing three pieces of good news. First was an Adjustment of Status approval for a refugee from Eritrea by way of Ethiopia. These cases are among the most encouraging in that the immigration system is generous with and responsive to some of our nation’s most vulnerable residents. The young man is a student at Reno-area Sierra Nevada Job Corps.

The next approval was a pretty “vanilla” one — a run-of-the-mill renewal of a Permanent Resident card for a Mexico national. Gaining approval for this case is no great feat, but it was a big benefit for the client that we were able to oversee the smooth and rapid approval of her ten-year renewal.

Finally, we helped a Mexico national naturalize and gain U.S. citizenship after a drawn-out process with the local immigration office. The man had struggled with alcohol addiction for over 15 years before becoming active in the Catholic Church and finding new purpose in his life. He had been sober for over five years and he has not had any repeat of the alcohol-related arrests that plagued his past. Still, the immigration officer requested substantial evidence of his recovery even beyond affidavits from friends, family, and church elders regarding his improved moral character. After submitting to medical and psychological assessments that determined his alcoholism to be in remission, he was approved for naturalization.

Throughout the process, the client remained positive and hopeful — for him, no price is too great for the pride of calling himself a U.S. citizen.

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Filed under Naturalization / Citizenship, Reno News

UNR’s Latino Research Center takes a stand against dangerous medical practice

In addition to hosting online registrations for this weekend’s free naturalization workshop (visit !), the Latino Research Center at the University of Nevada, Reno is getting attention this week for its campaign to inform the Latin@ community about the dangers of unlicensed medical practitioners.

Many unlicensed practitioners were trained professionals in their country of origin, but sometimes their knowledge is outdated or their skills are out of practice. In any case, they have not been vetted by the various boards and certifying agencies that determine each medical professional’s competence to practice. Using unlicensed practitioners can lead to dangerous mistakes in some cases, and it also opens the door to fraud and abuse.

Nonetheless, many families are having a hard time financially and they want to save money wherever they can. Additionally, because immigration enforcement has increased across the board in recent years many individuals who lack valid immigration status fear possible exposure to deportation if they use traditional medical services.

You can see more about the LRC’s program here or you can visit their Web site at

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Filed under Immigrant Rights, Nevada News, Reno News