NIJFON is Hiring!



Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors (NIJFON) mission is to provide free, high-quality immigration legal services; engage in education and advocacy; and build cross-cultural communities. Our vision is a world where immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees are welcomed, supported, and able to live without fear. NIJFON represents low-income immigrant communities throughout Northern Illinois. Please visit our website for more information:


The Legal Administrative Assistant will work with current NIJFON legal staff to perform and support general office operations, client management, scheduling, outreach, and other programmatic activities, including education and advocacy. We are seeking an Administrative Legal Assistant to help provide high-quality services to our clients and to expand our education and advocacy efforts while we increase our capacity to meet the growing need for our services.

This position is based in Chicago, Illinois, with significant opportunities for remote work.


  • Assist the legal team with research, form preparation, document acquisition, and client meetings;
  • Maintain client files and regularly update and maintain our case management system;
  • Maintain office calendars and keep track of important dates, such as filing deadlines, interviews, and court appearances; 
  • Communicate with clients, government officials, and other stakeholders;
  • Review and respond to voice messages, emails, and other communications;
  • Schedule new and existing client appointments in collaboration with the legal team;
  • Engage in general office administrative assistant duties, including, but not limited to: copying, mailing, scanning, shredding, filing, etc.
  • Help prepare immigration-related applications and compile submissions to government agencies; 
  • Process incoming and outgoing mail; and
  • As time and capacity allow, work with other NIJFON team members on outreach, advocacy, and educational programs.


The legal administrative assistant should have a strong commitment to public interest legal service and to the enfranchisement and empowerment of immigrant communities. Justice for Our Neighbors is more than a legal service project; it is a faith-based organization involving many diverse individuals, cultures, and faith traditions who come together to welcome immigrants to our community. As such, the administrative legal assistant should have an appreciation of the spiritual principles of this work and an ability to work sensitively with staff, volunteers, and clients who have diverse personalities, lifestyles, cultures, political orientations, and faiths. 

Proficiency in written and spoken Spanish is required, and fluency is preferred. Proficiency in other languages is a plus.


  • Comfort with and ability to work on computers is required for this position. We regularly utilize Microsoft Office programs, as well as Adobe Acrobat Pro, G Suite, Dropbox, and INSZoom. Familiarity with most or all of this software is highly preferred.
  • Knowledge of immigration and nationality law and experience working with immigrant populations and/or filing and preparing immigration forms and cases would be great.


Salary:$45,000 per year. A full benefits package, including options for full health insurance coverage (including family members) and pension, is included, along with generous vacation and holiday policies (at least 12 holidays observed, and NIJFON is closed from Christmas Day through New Year’s Day). We are committed to making NIJFON an equitable and just place to work and are actively and continually working to increase staff compensation and benefits.

NIJFON is part of a broader network of 19 sites across the country which provides the following benefits: connection with a Consulting Attorney and the other sites; malpractice insurance coverage; and memberships to AILA, the Practicing Law Institute, NIPNLG, and ASISTA, among other professional development resources and databases. There is also an Employee Assistance Program, which provides discounts on goods and services, as well as access to free legal and mental health services. You can find more information about our network here:

It is the policy of NIJFON to recruit, employ, compensate, and promote our professional staff in a manner that does not involve segregation or discrimination based on race, color, age, sex, disability, including HIV status, or sexual orientation. NIJFON complies with all governmental non- discrimination rules for its employment locations, including those for citizenship status, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status.


Those interested in applying should submit a brief note about why you would like to work with us, along with a resume, to: with “NIJFON Legal Administrative Assistant” in the subject line. We look forward to hearing from you!

Delve into NIJFON’s Work for Migrant Services

desplácese para leer en español

written by Karime Sanchez

Micro-Events and Programming

Currently, NIJFON serves Chicago and other cities including Rockford, Aurora, Buffalo Grove, and Crystal Lake. As part of our roots in the United Methodist ministry, our partnerships include Methodist churches that have been hubs for helping migrant newcomers and established migrants. 

Our program coordinator Diana Aguilar shares the various ways that NIJFON offers services to those living in Chicago and beyond. NIJFON calls some programs “microevents.” During our micro-events, around 20-60 people attend.

During the events, NIJFON provides information on the Immigrant Family Support Program (IFSP), which is a program that provides financial assistance to undocumented immigrants who were affected by COVID-19 given that these migrants were ineligible to receive the federal stimulus package, unemployment benefits, or public benefits. ISFP provides eligible applicants with $2,000-4,000 depending on their situation. This state program works with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). The program is not a loan, and it will not affect the applicant in the future (in case they become eligible for any immigration benefit: asylum, visa, workers permit, etc.). All information that we give ICIRR is confidential.

Many of those receiving benefits from ICIRR are extremely affected by COVID. Some came in with oxygen tanks or had a history of being hospitalized due to the effects of COVID-19. 

While providing information on the IFSP, Diana and others soon realized that there were migrants who were unaware of their rights. Because of their immigration status, many individuals thought that they didn’t have rights in the U.S. Thus, NIJFON now gives presentations on Know Your Rights, which informs individuals on workers’ rights, what to do if ICE detain them and what to do if they’re stopped by the police.

During these events, attendants ask about ICE Check-ins, city keys, medical insurance, shelters, food banks, hospital financial assistance, how to enroll their children in school, etc. City keys are special government-issued identification cards that undocumented people have access to. Before this year, only Chicago residents were able to obtain a special Chicago ID. But this resource is needed everywhere. Thankfully, after NIJFON worked on legislation with partners to advocate all residents of Illinois can have a city key card. This is a huge victory for undocumented people and in 2024, all will have access to these IDs and state driver’s licenses in Illinois no matter their legal status!

Among other things, the card allows access to such resources as library cards and discounts for goods and services among others. Yet, it is still easier for migrants and others to receive the key cards in Chicago. Those living outside of Chicago such as those in Rockford may find it harder because fewer sites have locations that dole out city keys. NIJFON steps in and helps migrants make appointments online to begin the process of obtaining a city key ID. 

In case NIJFON cannot provide all of the information at the micro-events, we schedule follow-up appointments and provide them with the information they are seeking. Through the Access to Justice program, we can give individuals legal referrals, which then provide clients with free high-quality consultations. Community navigators are trained to give presentations and to go into the community and recognize its needs. These individuals are trained to be leaders so that they can then inform the community and seek out the necessary sources of help for them. Often this is help from NIJFON itself.

During the micro-events, we also inform others about our citizenship classes. Many individuals ask about the citizenship classes for their loved ones who are legal permanent residents and are eligible to submit an N-400 application. We inform people that the NIJFON citizenship classes are free. This is a 10-week course that welcomes people of all English-language proficiencies. During the course, we prepare students for the reading test, writing test, oral test, civics, and history test. They are taught their rights and responsibilities as citizens and receive a foundation so they can reach their goal of becoming citizens.

Our Work with Churches

Redeemer Calvary Church is led by Pastor Noemi Meza and boasts a large Latino congregation. In the past, NIJFON and Redeemer Calvary have collaborated to bring three Know Your Rights workshops to migrants. With the help of Executive Director Claudia Marchan, the church successfully organized a clothing drive for Venezuelan newcomers. Some of these newcomers were likely coming from the nearby police station, a location where many migrants stay as they have few housing options.

Pastor Noemi’s church joined other organizations to create a rotating calendar so there was always a group who took charge of collective food and other necessities for the benefit of newcomers. With the help of NIJFON, Redeemer Calvary Church also extended monetary help to those most in need during the pandemic through the Immigrant Family Support Program.

Nadia Kanhai from Wesley United Methodist Church in Aurora has been involved with NIJFON almost since its inception. Nadia is a community advocate and was the Clinic coordinator of the Aurora clinic. Today, Nadia is on the NIJFON board but she started as a volunteer and was inspired by NIJFON’s approach of “radical hospitality.” She shares that NIJFON does not have the usual clinical atmosphere that could be associated with legal services. With NIJFON’s help, Wesley had greeters at the door, food was prepared, and there were children’s activities. Nadia remembers our lawyer Jenny Grobelski’s openness to help everyone who came through the door in any way we could. Nadia eventually became a Clinic Coordinator in Aurora. Our client Hager, who was featured in our July Newsletter came to us at the Aurora clinic!

Even as COVID progressed, Nadia facilitated some clinics where migrants could receive assistance with paperwork. 

NIJFON’s focus on other cities means that our resources can reach migrants who do not have access to the city of Chicago’s resources. While there may be more options available for migrants in the Chicago area, those living in other cities in Northern Illinois often cannot gain the same resources. Nadia recognizes that even between the other cities in Northern Illinois, resources vary; Aurora is different from Rockford, for example. In Aurora, there are such organizations as World Relief and Family Focus. 

Even so, the need is sometimes greater in Rockford than in Aurora because fewer organizations are doing immigration work. Even so, Nadia reports there are more needs. For example, Family Focus does not have an attorney on staff and World Relief tends to focus on asylum cases. Yet, migrants require many kinds of help whether that be legal teams or gaining legal status. We strive to work with what other organizations provide and try to fill the needs by working together. Together with other organizations, we can serve under-resourced communities. 

Nadia recalls the amazing turnout from word-of-mouth. People from all over the region as well as from Indiana and Wisconsin came to Rockford for NIJFON’s services. In Rockford, we additionally had legal clinics at Court St. UMC and most recently, we have conducted microevents at Brooke Road UMC during the pandemic. 

Nadia hopes that this year’s Bishop’s Appeal will allow for more support for asylum seekers in often overlooked areas like Rockford and Aurora. There is a desire amongst community members who are ready to help even with the existence of other limitations. Nadia hopes to offer legal services more robustly again in the near future.

Descubra los esfuerzos de NIJFON para dar servicios a migrantes

escrito por Karime Sanchez

Microeventos y programas

Actualmente, NIJFON presta sus servicios en Chicago y otras ciudades como Rockford, Aurora, Buffalo Grove y Crystal Lake. Como parte de nuestras asociaciones ministeriales metodistas unidas, nuestras colaboraciones incluyen iglesias que han sido núcleos de ayuda a inmigrantes recién llegados y también a inmigrantes establecidos.

Nuestra coordinadora de programas, Diana Aguilar, comparte las diversas formas en que NIJFON ofrece servicios a quienes viven en Chicago y más allá. NIJFON llama a algunos de estos programas, “micro-eventos”. Durante nuestros micro-eventos, asisten entre 20 y 60 personas.

Durante estos eventos, NIJFON ofrece información sobre el Programa de Apoyo a Familias Inmigrantes (Immigrant Family Support Program, o IFSP). Este programa proporciona ayuda financiera a los inmigrantes indocumentados que se vieron afectados por el COVID-19 porque no tienen derecho a recibir estímulos federales, subsidios de desempleo o beneficios públicos. El IFSP proporciona entre 2000 y 4000 dólares a los solicitantes elegibles. Este programa estatal trabaja con ICIRR, o la Coalición de Illinois para los Derechos de los Inmigrantes y Refugiados (Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights). El programa no es un préstamo y no afectará al solicitante en el futuro (en caso que reciba un beneficio de inmigración: asilo, visado, permiso de trabajo, etc.). Toda la información que le enviamos a ICIRR es confidential.

Muchas de las personas que reciben beneficios de ICIRR fueron muy afectadas por el COVID. Algunos llegaron con tanques de oxígeno o tenían historias de haber sido hospitalizados debido a los efectos del COVID-19. 

Mientras daban información sobre IFSP, Diana y otros trabajadores pronto se dieron cuenta de que muchos migrantes no conocían sus derechos. Debido a su estatus migratorio, muchas personas pensaban que no tenían derechos dentro de los Estados Unidos. Por eso, NIJFON ahora da presentaciones de Conozca sus Derechos, que informan sobre los derechos de los trabajadores, qué hacer si ICE los detiene, y qué hacer si son detenidos por la policía. 

Durante estos eventos, los asistentes hacen preguntas sobre ICE check-ins (citas con ICE), identificación “city key”, seguro médico, albergues, bancos de alimento, asistencia financiera para hospitales, cómo registrar a sus hijos en la escuela, etc. City keys son tarjetas de identificación especiales del gobierno, a las cuales tienen acceso las personas indocumentadas. Antes del año actual, solo los residentes de la ciudad de Chicago podían obtener una identifican especial de Chicago. Pero este recurso es necesario en todas partes. Afortunadamente, NIJFON se esforzó en abogar para una legislación en colaboración con más grupos para que todos los residentes de Illinois puedan tener tarjetas “city key.” ¡Esto fue una enorme victoria para las personas indocumentadas y para 2024, todos tendrán acceso a estas identificaciones y licencias para conducir en Illinois, sin importar su estatus legal!

Entre otras cosas, la tarjeta da acceso a recursos tales como tarjeta para la biblioteca, y descuentos para bienes y servicios, entre otros. Pero para los que viven fuera de Chicago, como en Rockford, puede que resulte más difícil obtenerla porque hay menos sitios que tengan locales que dan city key. NIJFON interviene para ayudar a migrantes a hacer citas en línea para empezar el proceso para obtener una identificación city key. 

En el caso de que NIJFON no pueda aportar toda la información durante estos microeventos, programamos seguimientos y les proveemos  la información que buscan. A través del programa Acceso a Justicia (Access to Justice Program), podemos dar referencias legales a individuos quienes pueden darles consultas gratis y de alta calidad. Los navegadores de comunidad son entrenados para dar presentaciones y entrar a las comunidades para reconocer sus necesidades. Estos individuos son entrenados para ser líderes que puedan informar a la comunidad y buscar las fuentes necesarias para ayudar a los migrantes. A menudo, esta ayuda viene de NIJFON mismo. 

Durante nuestros microeventos, también les informamos sobre nuestras clases de ciudadanía. Muchos individuos preguntan sobre las clases para sus seres queridos, quienes son residentes permanentes que son elegibles para someter una solicitud N-400. Le informamos a la gente de este curso de 10 semanas que invita personas de todos los niveles del idioma inglés. Durante este curso, preparamos a estudiantes para la prueba de lectura, la prueba de escritura, la prueba oral, y la prueba de cívismo e historia. Se les enseñan sus derechos y responsabilidades como ciudadanos y reciben una fundación para que puedan llegar a su meta de convertirse en ciudadanos. 

Nuestro trabajo con iglesias

Redeemer Calvary Church es una iglesia dirigida por la pastora Noemi Meza y cuenta con una congregación en gran parte Latina. En el pasado, NIJFON y Redeemer Calvary han colaborado para aportar tres talleres de Conocer Sus Derechos para los migrantes. Con la ayuda de la Directora ejecutiva Claudia Marchan, la iglesia tuvo éxito al organizar una colecta de ropa para los venezolanos recién llegados. Es muy probable que algunos de estos recién llegados venían de la estación de policia cercana, una ubicación donde muchos migrantes se quedan, ya que tienen pocas opciones de vivienda.

La iglesia de la pastora Noemi se unió con otras organizaciones para crear un calendario rotativo para que siempre haya un grupo que pueda tomar el mando de la colección de comida y otras necesidades para el beneficio de los nuevos migrantes. Con la ayuda de NIJFON, Redeemer Calvary Church también extiendió ayuda económica a los más necesitados durante la pandemia a través del Programa de Apoyo a Familias Inmigrantes (Immigrant Family Support Program, o IFSP). 

Nadia Kanhai de Wesley United Metodist Church (UMC), una iglesia en Aurora, ha estado involucrada con NIJFON desde casi su insepción. Nadia es una defensora comunitaria y fue una Coordinadora de clínicas en Aurora. Hoy, Nadia tiene una posición en el consejo de NIJFON, pero empezó como una voluntaria y fue inspirada con el método de “hospitalidad radical” de NIJFON. Ella comparte que NIJFON no tiene la atmosfera fría que se puede asociar a los servicios legales. Con la asistencia de NIJFON, Wesley UMC tuvo personas en las puertas dando la bienvenida, comida preparada, y hasta actividades para niños. Nadia se acuerda de la sinceridad de nuestra abogada de personal Jenny Grobelski para ayudar con lo que pudiéramos a todas las personas que entraban por la puerta. Nadia eventualmente se hizo Coordinadora de clínicas en Aurora. ¡Nuestra cliente, Hager, quien fue presentada en nuestro boletín electrónico de julio, de hecho nos conoció en la clínica de Aurora!

Hasta cuando el COVID progresaba, la iglesia de Nadia continuaba manejando algunas clínicas donde los migrantes podían recibir asistencia con papeleo. 

Nuestro enfoque como NIJFON en otras ciudades significa que nuestros recursos pueden llegar a más migrantes, quienes no tienen acceso a los recursos de Chicago. Mientras quizá existan más opciones disponibles para los migrantes en el área de Chicago, los que viven en otras ciudades del norte de Illinois frecuentemente no pueden recibir los mismos recursos. Nadia reconoce que hasta entre las diferentes ciudades del norte de Illinois, los recursos varían: Aurora es diferente a Rockford, por ejemplo. En Aurora, existen ciertas organizaciones como World Relief y Family Focus. 

Aun así, la necesidad es a veces aún más grande en Rockford porque hay menos organizaciones que hacen trabajo de inmigración. Aun así, Nadia reporta que hay más necesidades. Por ejemplo, Family Focus no tiene abogado de personal y World Relief suele enfocarse más en casos de asilo. Pero, los migrantes requieren de muchos tipos de ayuda, ya sea equipos legales u obtener otros estatus legales. Nos esforzamos para coordinar con lo que otras organizaciones ya proveen y tratamos de completar las necesidades, colaborando juntos. Junto con otras organizaciones, podemos servirles a las comunidades de bajos recursos. 

Nadia recuerda la gran convocatoria de los servicios de NIJFON a través de boca en boca. Gente de toda la región, al igual que personas de Indiana y Wisconsin, llegaron a Rockford. En Rockford, adicionalmente, tuvimos clínicas legales en Court St. UMC y más recientemente, hemos manejado microeventos en Brooke Road UMC durante la pandemia.  

Nadia espera que la apelación del obispo (Bishop’s Appeal) permita más apoyo para los que buscan asilo en áreas a menudo pasadas por alto como Rockford y Aurora. Hay un deseo entre los miembros de la comunidad quienes están listos para proveer ayuda aún con la existencia de otras limitaciones. Nadia desea poder ofrecer nuevamente servicios legales en un futuro cercano.

Hager’s Journey to Citizenship

desplácese para leer en español

written by Karime Sanchez

The ongoing Syrian Civil War has caused over 180,000 migrants from Syria to seek refuge in the United States since the outbreak of violence in 2011. Hager and her family were among these refugees. When the war began, Hager and her family had to make the difficult decision to move to the United States. Although the family contemplated going back to Syria, Hager knew that they would have no home to return to. Instead, she began her search for asylum in the US.

Hager and her family found themselves in a refugee camp in the state of Georgia. She began by applying for asylum in Atlanta and Savannah, yet both requests were rejected. Despite her adversities, Hager remembers enjoying her time at the camp. An employee working at the refugee camp took notice of Hager’s situation and offered her help in Chicago. Hager says that the primary reason she moved to Chicago was because she felt her chances of receiving asylum would increase in Illinois. When they arrived in Illinois, Hager and her daughters stayed at a shelter in Evanston for close to two weeks.

Eventually, Hager came into contact with NIJFON Attorney Jenny Grobelski who would help Hager apply for asylum. Jenny spoke to Hager over the phone and asked to meet her in person. On her way to meet Jenny, she recalls feeling afraid because she had her daughters to care for but no job and no documentation since her visa had expired. In her search for a place to rent, it seemed no one would accept her because she had no paperwork. Additionally, Jenny had to work quick because Hager was close to the one-year limit to apply for asylum. She was in a precarious situation. 

Yet, Hager describes how her feelings changed when she met Jenny for the first time. Hager states that Jenny was a kind person from the beginning and that she took care of Hager and her family. Jenny cared about Hager’s life and offered her help that far exceeded Hager’s expectations. Hager began to see her daughter in Jenny and came to appreciate Jenny’s presence, such as when Jenny accompanied Hager to her legal appointments. Jenny details the day of her asylum interview: “I remember when we had her interview, as the officer was walking us out to the hallway after the interview was over, she leaned over to me and said, ‘I like your client’s style,’ meaning that she liked her attitude/spunk, as she had a lot of fight in her, despite her terrible circumstances. I’ve never had an immigration officer or judge so candidly and off the record root for one of our clients. EVERYONE she comes across just pulls for her; she has that effect on people.” 

True to Jenny’s opinion, people rallied around Hager. The refugee camp employee put Hager in contact with a woman working as a doctor in Chicago who would take Hager and her three daughters into her home. Hager expresses immense gratitude to the family who gave her much-needed assistance and a place to stay. Hager moved into the city as she awaited a response from Jenny about her asylum case. Hager could feel the pressure of her current state and awaited asylum with anticipation as she continuously reached out to Jenny for status updates on her case. Finally, Jenny called Hager to tell her the good news— Hager received asylum! Hager conveys that gaining asylum already made her feel like a citizen.

Meanwhile, friends and kind strangers all around Hager continued to offer the family support. Jenny helped Hager achieve yet another sense of freedom by getting Hager a work permit. Before her work permit, Hager felt she was imprisoned as she would only leave the house to shop for groceries or walk. She describes feeling like the work permit gave her another security that saved her. She “could do anything.” Her neighbor assisted Hager in applying for a job. Hager learned how to drive and received her driver’s license. Although Hager began studying English for two months, she says she learned the most English at work via speaking with customers. Her job began to feel easier because she formed connections with others. Today, Hager works at a senior home with her oldest daughter Sara. Hager explains her desire to return the favors given to her back to the community.

Finally, Hager received her green card in 2017. Now, Hager expresses her love for the people around her. She says she does not do her work for compensation but rather for the fulfillment she receives when she gives back. Although she felt everything around her was new when she arrived, today she feels happy to learn about her neighbors and their cultures and customs. Jenny’s diligent dedication to Hager’s case culminated in 2022 when Hager became a naturalized U.S. citizen. 

When asked what is next for her, Hager says she wants to relax. Her journey has empowered her to be proud of herself. She feels like a strong woman who is happy that in the U.S., she does not need to have a husband to succeed. Hager affirms that the U.S. has brought her relief and options for what she wants to become. She notes that here, she has the opportunity to be the best person she can be. Hager states, “If you want to be a good person, this country will support you. I can live an honest life here.” Hager feels grateful to NIJFON and describes NIJFON as full of warm people. When asked what NIJFON has meant to her, Hager concludes that “NIJFON takes care of me like family. I feel considered like a family member.”

El camino a la ciudadanía de Hager

escrita por Karime Sanchez

La guerra civil actual en Siria ha causado que más de 180.000 migrantes Sirios pidan refugio en los Estados Unidos desde el comienzo de la violencia en el 2011. Hager y su familia se incluyen entre los refugiados. Cuando empezó la guerra, Hager y su familia enfrentaron la difícil decisión de ir a los Estados Unidos. Aunque consideraron regresar a Siria, Hager supo que no tendrían hogar al que volver. En cambio, ella empezó su búsqueda por el asilo en los Estados Unidos.    

Hager y su familia se encontraron en un campo de refugiados en el estado de Georgia. Ella empezó la solicitud de asilo en las ciudades de Atlanta y Savannah, pero ambas solicitudes fueron rechazadas. A pesar de sus adversidades, Hager recuerda que disfrutaba su estancia en el campo. Una empleada que trabajaba en el campo se dio cuenta de la situación que pasaba Hager y le ofreció ayuda en Chicago. Hager dijo que su razón principal para mudarse a Chicago fue porque sintió que sus posibilidades de recibir el asilo aumentarían en Illinois. Cuando llegó a Illinois, Hager y sus tres hijas se quedaron en un albergue en Evanston durante dos semanas.

Eventualmente, Hager se puso en contacto con la abogada Jenny Grobelski de NIJFON quien la ayudaría con la solicitud de asilo. Jenny habló con Hager por teléfono para ofrecerle una cita en persona. En camino a reunirse con Jenny, Hager tenía miedo por el bienestar de sus niñas ya que estaba desempleada y su visa había expirado. Cuando buscaba lugar para alquilar, nadie la aceptaba por no tener documentos. Además, Jenny estaba obligada a trabajar de prisa ya que Hager se acercaba al límite de un año para solicitar el asilo. Estaba en una situación precaria.

Pero Hager describe cómo cambiaron sus emociones al conocer a Jenny por primera vez. Hager dice que Jenny fue una persona amable desde el principio y que se preocupaba por ella y su familia. Jenny se preocupó por la vida de Hager y le ofreció ayuda que sobrepasó las expectativas de Hager. Hager empezó a ver a Jenny como su hija y apreciaba su presencia, como la vez que Jenny acompañó a Hager a citas legales. Jenny detalla el dia de la entrevista de asilo: “Recuerdo cuando tuvimos su entrevista, el oficial que nos acompañaba al pasillo después de que acabó su entrevista se acerco hacia a mi y me dijo, “Me gusta el estilo de tu cliente,” que significa que le gustó su actitud y comportamiento ya que Hager llevaba mucha lucha por dentro a pesar de sus circunstancias terribles. Nunca un oficial de inmigracion o juez tan cándidamente o fuera del registro ha apoyado a uno de nuestros clientes. TODOS con quien Hager se encuentra simplemente la respaldan; tiene ese efecto con las personas.”

Tal y como opina Jenny, la gente se movilizaba para Hager. La empleada del campo de refugiados presentó a Hager a una conocida que vivía y era médico en Chicago. Estaba dispuesta a invitar a Hager y sus hijas a su hogar. Hager expresa agradecimiento inmenso a la familia que le dió la asistencia que necesitaba y un lugar dónde vivir temporalmente. Hager se mudó a la ciudad mientras esperaba respuestas de Jenny sobre su caso de asilo. Hager sentía la presión de su situación actual y esperaba el asilo con anticipación y simultáneamente continuaba contactando a Jenny para pedir actualizaciones sobre su caso. Por fin, Jenny llamó a Hager para darle las buenas noticias— Hager recibió asilo! Hager relata que recibir el asilo la hizo ya sentirse como ciudadana.

Mientras tanto, amigos y hasta desconocidos amables alrededor de Hager continuaban ofreciendo su apoyo a la familia. Jenny ayudó a Hager a lograr todavía otro tipo de libertad al conseguirle un permiso de trabajo. Antes de su permiso de trabajo, Hager se sentía encarcelada ya que sólo salía de la casa para hacer las compras o caminar. Describe que el permiso de trabajo le dió la seguridad de sentirse a salvo. Podía “hacerlo todo.” Su vecina le ayudó a solicitar un trabajo. Hager aprendió a conducir y consiguió su licencia de manejo. Aunque Hager empezó a estudiar inglés por dos meses, dice que aprendió más del idioma a través de sus interacciones con clientes en el trabajo. Su trabajo empezó a ser más fácil porque formaba conexiones con los demás. Hoy en día, Hager trabaja con su hija mayor Sara en un hogar de ancianos. Hager explica que su deseo es devolver los favores que su comunidad misma le dió. 

Hager recibió su residencia en el 2017. Ahora, Hager expresa su amor a las personas a su alrededor. Dice que no trabaja para recibir compensación sino por el cumplimiento que siente al ayudar. A pesar de sentir que todo a su alrededor era extraño cuando llegó por primera vez, hoy en día es feliz cuando aprende de sus vecinos, sus culturas y costumbres. La dedicación diligente de Jenny con el caso de Hager culminó en el 2022 cuando Hager se nacionalizó ciudadana estadounidense.

Cuando le preguntan qué sigue para su vida, Hager dice que sólo quiere relajarse. Su camino la ha empoderado a sentirse orgullosa de sí misma. Se siente como una mujer fuerte que se alegra que en los Estados Unidos, no le hace falta un esposo para ser exitosa. Hager afirma que los Estados Unidos le ha dado alivio y opciones para convertirse en lo que quiera ser. Nota que aquí, tiene la oportunidad de ser la mejor persona que puede ser. Hager declara, “Si quieres ser buena persona, este país te apoya. Aquí, puedo vivir una vida honesta.” Hager agradece a NIJFON y lo describe como lleno de personas acogedoras. Cuando le preguntan qué significa NIJFON para ella, Hager concluye que “NIJFON me cuida como si fuera de su familia. Me consideran como un miembro de la familia.”

NIJFON is HIRING for a U.S. Citizenship Instructor!

Job Position: U.S. Citizenship Instructor (remote)


Northern Illinois Justice For Our Neighbors (NIJFON) provides free high-quality legal services to low-income immigrants, engages in education and advocacy efforts, and builds cross-cultural relationships. We were rooted in the United Methodist Church and moved by our faith to welcome immigrants. We are a non-profit organization that welcomes people of all backgrounds and faiths. Please visit our website for more information:

The Position:

The U.S. Citizenship Instructor is responsible for preparing and presenting effective lesson plans to the ESL/Civics students so that they may take and successfully pass the English and U.S. Civics test as part of the process to become naturalized U.S. Citizens. In addition, the U.S. Citizenship Instructor will monitor student performance and provide input for program success. Classes meet Saturdays via Zoom, 9:00 am–11:30 am for a 12-week period.

Stipend: $600

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Prepare and present lesson plans and class materials for each class.
  • Deliver multi-level instruction that includes:
    • Overview of the citizenship process
    • Basic U.S. history and government
    • English reading, speaking, and dictation
    • Vocabulary from the N-400 application
    • Oral interviewing skills
  • Track individual student progress and make assessments and recommendations as needed.
  • Keep accurate attendance and sign-in sheets.
  • Arrive for each class meeting at least 15 minutes before the start of class.
  • Provide attendance roster, lesson plan outlines, and progress reports, as requested by the Program Coordinator.
  • Promote an interactive classroom with a heavy emphasis on student participation.
  • Work effectively with diverse ethnic groups and be culturally sensitive.


  • Ability to speak, read and write English effectively.
  • Bilingual Spanish speakers are highly preferred.
  • Previous experience teaching adult learners in a multi-level classroom – ESL and U.S. Citizenship student experience is highly preferred but not required.
  • Familiar with the U.S. citizenship process and/or U.S. immigration procedures.
  • Able to motivate and make learning accessible as well as stimulating.
  • Work well with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Comfortable working independently.

How to Apply:

Please submit a cover letter and resume via email to Diana Aguilar, Program Coordinator,
( Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors will accept applications for this position until the position is filled.

The curriculum has been developed and is in place; however, the instructor is encouraged to bring innovative
curriculum and activities into the program. Positions are renewable based on performance and student

More Justice, More Love:

Celebrating 10 years of helping immigrant neighbors find Justice and Love in their chosen home

Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors celebrates its 10th anniversary with More Justice and More Love.  The first decade of JFON is full of stories of hope from clients, volunteers and staff who were the first to encounter JFON and have made it what it is today. Justice and Love are at the center of our work as we celebrate a decade of providing high quality immigration legal services.  JFON has now become the stories of justice and love as we seek a world where immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed, supported and able to live without fear.

Today, we are calling for More Justice and More Love as we face a pandemic that is affecting our immigrant families of color disproportionately.  We are calling for More Justice and More Love as our clients’ day in court is delayed even further by the pandemic. We are calling for More Justice and More Love as we strive to dismantle racist and unjust policies that have broken our immigration system and have separated immigrant families for years.

At Northern Illinois JFON we believe that as we come together to build safe spaces with More Justice and More Love we can break the structures of oppression and fix the broken immigration system to create a path to citizenship where immigrant families can live and thrive in their chosen home. Your support of our local mission to provide free high-quality immigration legal services here in Northern Illinois creates More Justice and More love for our clients and their families.

Every dollar given to JFON goes directly to support legal services for immigrants’ families and creates spaces with More Justice and More Love. We see Justice and Love come to life when a family is reunited after so many years apart. We see Justice and Love take root and flourish when an LGBTQIA asylum seeker is able to live their full life as their full self. We see Justice and Love blossom when a mother living in the shadows of fear for years attends her oath ceremony and shines her light brightly for herself & children. 

Are you ready to join NIJFON’s More Justice, More Love Campaign? Together we can continue to to build spaces with More Justice and More Love for immigrant families for the next 10 years to come.

Please click here to see NIJFON’s 10th Anniversary Facebook Live Kickoff Event on February 21, 2021.

In solidarity,

Claudia Marchan                                                  Rev. Michael Mann,

Executive Director, NIJFON                                 Board Chair, NIJFON