As many of you know, migrants’ journeys do not end once they reach our borders. Here in the United States, they face a complex and daunting system of laws. It takes courage to leave everything you know, but it also takes courage to navigate America’s complicated system — from health care and legal aid, to credit scores and interest rates.
To help migrants, and those who walk alongside them, navigate these complex systems, I’m pleased to announce that LIRS has created a straightforward guide. The guide, First Steps: An LIRS Guide for Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Migrants Released from Detention, provides the most critical information for migrants to safely and successfully rebuild their lives. Separate status specific supplements offer details for different legal statuses. Supplements are currently available for asylum seekers and lawful permanent residents, with more coming in 2015.
First Steps will empower and benefit a vast number of people, especially those who are in the uncertain stages of beginning to rebuild their lives. First Steps is recommended for migrants and those who walk alongside migrants. In particular: case workers, lawyers, and people of faith.
Casie-Lee Miller, a case manager at LIRS partner Ascentria Care Alliance told us:
Navigating the legal and social services systems as an immigrant are hugely challenging tasks, which are all too often compounded by the misinformation circulating outside our office doors. LIRS has created an amazing resource that addresses not only the resources available, but how they vary and evolve dependent upon status, location, and phase of the immigration process. It’s going to be a great asset for the populations we serve and I cannot wait to start getting this out there!
And Selena Sujoldzic, a former refugee resettled by LIRS and lawyer says:
I wish that my family and I had a guide like First Steps to tell us how to move forward and take advantage of America’s great opportunities…I am certain if we had, we would have started calling this country “home” much sooner, and spent fewer years living in uncertainty.
If you are a new American, case worker, lawyer, person of faith, or if you walk alongside migrants and refugees in any capacity, please take advantage of this excellent resource! Use First Steps to guide your understanding of our complex systems, or use it with migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees, so that they can take full advantage of the opportunities America offers, and call it “home” much sooner.
First Steps is also available as an EPUB file, PDF, and is downloadable to Kindle. First Steps will be available in Spanish soon. Visit lirs.org/firststeps to download your copy.