From the Desk of KIAC’s Executive Director

Dear Friends of KIAC,

May was a month of high and lows. From a personal standpoint, I received my long awaited letter from USCIS for the final part of my immigration journey – notice of my Citizenship Interview. After restudying for the civics exam, and with all my paperwork in hand, I attended my interview and was sworn in as a US citizen later that same day. I stood with nearly 100 other immigrants from various parts of the world. The whole experience was a positive one for me, and I ended the day feeling grateful about becoming the citizen of this country I’ve called home for the last thirty years of my life.

It was during the same week that we as a country responded to two incidents of mass shootings (and many more have followed). I had to pause and reflect on this reality as I became a citizen. As an immigrant and the head of an immigrant assistance organization, the racial profile of the victims caused even more devastation and concern. As I grappled with the duality of celebrating citizenship while recognizing there is much work to be done, the quote by Dr. King, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable … Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals” resonated and brought back gratitude and hope. I know that our team at KIAC and our extended family of volunteers, donors and community organizations is comprised of dedicated individuals who continue to do tireless work with passion. 

Here are a few KIAC highlights from May:

  • In addition to our regular weekday health and dental clinics, we continue to offer a Saturday clinic for those needing services who are unable to attend on a weekday. It continues to be well attended.
  • Dozens of immigrant families received clothing and pantry staples through KIAC’s clothing closet. We had a dental focus for the dry goods we provide with each closet visit. Thank you to those who donated toothbrushes and toothpaste.
  • After rigorous study and hard work, KIAC’s Legal Services Coordinator Carmen completed her Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law (COIL) course and passed her examination. The COIL course is a necessary prerequisite to becoming an Accredited Representative.
  • KIAC’s Accredited Representatives continued to assist with a variety of immigration legal matters including naturalizations, asylum cases, and green card renewals, among others. We are continuing to experience record-high volumes of calls from immigrants seeking immigration legal representation and support. 
  • We finalized our annual Report to the Community. We are blown away by what KIAC has been able to accomplish thanks to the dedicated support of you, our donors, volunteers and partners. Check it out online here!

This is the first Touchpoint I’ve penned as a citizen of the United States of America. I feel privileged to stand with all of you – dedicated individuals with passionate concern, as we work towards the goals of justice and equity.

In Gratitude,

Thangam Chandrasekaran, Executive Director 

PS. In doing our part to continue combating misinformation, we have debunked a few immigration myths. Please enjoy our “Myths vs. Facts” below.

PPS. Our Marketing & Development Team said that NOT sharing a citizenship photo would be a disservice to our work. You can check it out below. 

From the Desk of KIAC’s Executive Director

Dear Friends of KIAC,

The words by Dr. Farmer in our quote of the month, “We want to be on the winning team, but at the risk of turning our backs on the losers, no, it is not worth it. So we fight the long defeat,” resonate with us at KIAC and with the work we do each day towards equity and justice for our immigrant neighbors. We are very concerned about the negative impact of the potential pending repeal of Roe v Wade, leading to state criminalization of abortion which can transform healthcare into a prison pipeline. Such an outcome would disproportionately affect women of color, thereby heavily impacting immigrants.  

The war in Ukraine rages on while there is a shaky, two month ceasefire for the war in Yemen. Although the individual circumstances and politics that have led to these moments are different, a common theme runs through many of these situations — the prevalence of misinformation. We at KIAC want to do our part in helping our readers (You) understand the more complex immigration topics that we hear about everyday. In this May Touchpoint, Althea Paulson, KIAC Board member and Pro Bono Attorney, will help us understand Title 42.  

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