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LALDEF’s legal service staff is out of the office until March 26, 2020, or until further notice to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We, however, continue to work on cases and client support remotely. Please feel free to reach out to your legal services coordinator for particular questions about your case (Monday-Friday: 10 am-4:30 pm). For general questions please contact Caty Dominguez – LALDEF/Welcome House Office Manager at 609-331-9367.
Furthermore, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a statement informing the public of the suspension of their routine in-person services until at least April 1, 2020, effective as of March 18, 2020. They advise their staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public but will provide emergency services for limited situations.
Further notes for clients attending in-person check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) The office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) - Newark will temporarily change in-person reporting requirements to telephonic reporting. Individuals who are required to report to a deportation case officer will be able to report telephonically at:
Individuals will need to provide the following:
- Case/File No. (A#)
- Current Address
- Current Phone Number
- Case Officer Name (if known)
- Status or Updates of their case/situation
Please rest assured our legal services staff is keeping up with the immigration policy effects of COVID-19 and will continue to provide updates as the situation develops.
Education and precautions are the strongest tools against infection. Get the latest facts by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 website. Continue to practice good health habits, refrain from handshakes or hugs as greetings, and wash hands and clean surfaces appropriately.
The Adult Education team has been strategizing how best to continue our ESL classes by way of virtual instruction. We have chosen to suspend our other Adult Ed programs at the moment (HSE, Computer Literacy Workshop, One on one ESL Tutoring). Because many students do not have access to personal computers, our challenge is to find a platform that students could navigate easily on their smartphones. We found that Facebook, Youtube, and WhatsApp were the most accessible platforms for our students, so we encourage our instructors to use those. They are able to record themselves teaching grammar points, vocab, etc. for their students to watch and then to follow up with group calls on WhatsApp. There, teachers will be able to upload resources and various assignments. Students will be able to send in photos of their HW from their workbooks and ask questions to the group and instructor. We believe that these platforms can not only serve as strong, productive educational tools, but also as a space for community and encouragement during this time of isolation and uncertainty.
Our ESL classes will be taught virtually until the end of the semester, April 9th. Our Computer Literacy Workshop for the Spring has been cancelled. We look forward to a four part Basic Digital Literacy course that will begin late spring or early summer. The HSE Math Prep class will be paused for the time being, but will continue later this spring until the semester's material has been covered. After this, we will be offering a Reading and Writing course as part of the HSE Preparation program. For the time being, individual ESL tutoring has been suspended as well.
Bilingual Case Management: HWMSA
My name is Jessica Hourruitiner, I am the full-time Bilingual Case Manager at Hedgepeth/Williams Middle School of the Arts (HWMSA). In this position, I service the families whose children study in the school’s bilingual program and parents who do not speak English. I work closely with the school guidance counselors, parent liaison, administration, faculty and organizations in Trenton to support families within the school.School is closed due to the Corona Virus (Covid-19) pandemic. I will be working from home until further notice. I will continue to serve as point-of-contact for parents and family members of HWMSA bilingual families. I will continue to provide thorough case management for clients.
As the Liaison between parents, LALDEF, HWMSA, community organizations and Trenton Board of Education, I will be updating the families on the latest news regarding HWMSA.
Community ID Program
Princeton (Princeton Public Library) and Trenton (LALDEF)
In response to the current situation with COVID-19, LALDEF will not be issuing Community IDs at either its headquarters in Trenton nor at the Princeton Public Library (PPL). The PPL has cancelled all programs and events, including our Mercer County ID Card Program, until at least Sunday, April 5. Our mutual goal is to decrease the number of situations where community members will be gathering in groups and minimize time spent in close proximity with each other. If you have any questions about the ID card program, please contact Courtney Perales at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 860-978-9218.
From Liliana Morenilla, FUTURO Program Coordinator—Princeton
I am meeting virtually with my students, seniors, for two hours every week to check in on them as well as checking in with their teachers daily, to make sure the students’ homework packages are being organized correctly and delivered to the students. I am currently working with two tutors for my students, who are seniors, and my tutors are now working virtually with our students.
In response to the current situation with COVID-19, LALDEF will be closed until further notice. We have cancelled all our in-person advocacy efforts, including our Princeton and LALDEF-based Community ID Programs, notary services, and print/copy services. The goal is to decrease the number of situations where community members will be gathering in groups and minimize time spent in close proximity with each other.
However, LALDEF is able to help clients who have access to a computer with the following services: letters, translations, and referrals to other agencies. Please keep in mind we are not able to notarize any documents at this time. If you have any questions about this matter, please email Caty Dominguez at email@example.com or call her at 609-331-9367.
Most of my work is devoted to researching services available to the public during the COVID-19 crisis. I have focused on Trenton, Hamilton, and the Princeton Food Pantry distribution. I am providing our clients information about contacting City Hall Health Services hotlines and other related departments, such as NJ Government Health Department, NJ Government Labor Department, and NJ Government Housing Department. I have been working as a Client Advocate, too, receiving and responding to phone calls, messages, and emails. I have been using Facebook as a bridge to share important information with the community. Our concern with our Trenton community is that they have valid information, so they can prepare and educate themselves regarding the crisis that we are in.
-- Laura Mora