A 24-hour phone hotline created by the Illinois Coaltion for Immigrant and Refugee Rights went live on September 19 and has already fielded hundreds of calls.
Staffed by volunteers and offering help in English, Spanish, Portugese and Korean, the hotline serves as a reliable source of information and assistance for individuals who have questions about deportation proceedings and other immigration matters. Salvador Cervantes, a senior ICIRR organizer, told the Chicago Tribune that the hotline refers callers to attorneys, social service agencies or international consulates, depending on their needs.
Dagmara Lopez, the hotline coordinator, told the Tribune the service was intended for Illinois residents, but many of the calls have come from California, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and other states.
President Barack Obama recently directed immigration enforcement agencies to review all pending deportations and grant reprieves in some low-priority cases, and many people have called the hotline with questions pertaining to this review process, ICIRR Director of Organization Stephen Smith told the source.
The hotline phone number is 855-435-7693 or 855-HELP-MY-F(amily).
Immigration rights activists have praised the hotline as well as the Cook County Board of Commissioners, which recently passed an ordinance under which Chicago jails will stop holding prisoners on federal immigration detainers.