ROCHESTER, Minn- Immigration continues to be a controversial topic across the nation. A non-profit interfaith group is trying to help undocumented immigrants in Southeast Minnesota find their voice. It's called the Southeastern Minnesota Interfaith Immigrant Legal Defense. For the last 10 months, the group has been working hard to raise funds for their mission. On October 1st they entered into a contract for immigration legal services with Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM) and The Advocates for Human Rights (The Advocates). The collaboration will allow Southeastern Minnesota Interfaith Immigrant Legal Defense to provide legal assistance for people in the immigration court system or ICE detention who lack the means to hire an attorney.
Maria Zavala migrated with her family from Mexico when she was five years old. She has DACA status but that doesn't account for her family. She says she now has an obligation to fight immigration reform.
“People are worried about helping the undocumented students, DACA and the dreamer's nobody was talking about our parents the people who shaped us," Zavala
According to Southeastern Minnesota interfaith Immigrant Legal Defense 2,800people are undocumented in Olmsted County. Phil wheeler is the chair of the board Southeastern Minnesota interfaith Immigrant Legal Defense he says most people just don't understand how complex some people's stories are.
"Most of the people that are undocumented are undocumented because they have overstayed their visa,” Wheeler said. “Most of them arrive not by crossing a border but by landing in an airport.”
He says some undocumented immigrants might fail to renew their visa or there has been some change in the rules that keeps them from becoming legal status.
If you would like more information on the services http://www.smiild.org