Help Us Spread the Message of Hope

A few months ago, we here in Wellness received an email message and a picture from someone who had attended one of our health screenings a few years ago. She wanted us to know how important that day turned out to be for her. She says she was actually seriously considering suicide: she had struggled with depression for years, had just lost her job of 10 years and felt like she had no one and nothing in her life especially as all her family were at home in Ireland and she was living here without status. She reminded us that she came to the health screening to get her flu shot as she thought it would help her find another job working with the elderly.

"I was as low as any human being could have been but then you guys offered me a cup of tea while I was waiting for my flu shot and asked me how I was....and then it all came out. I had a counseling appointment the next day, information on health care access and suddenly I knew I wasn't alone. Thank you. If you weren't here, I might not be. I just wanted you to know that you made a difference.”

She took this picture and emailed it with her message, and we thought it would be a wonderful way for people to also share how something as simple as offering a cup of tea, asking the simple question "How are you" or other small steps can change someone's world, for a minute, for a lifetime.

Do you have a similar "I'm Here..." story? Did someone say something or do something to remind you that you weren't alone! Then write it down and take a picture of it and send it into us here at the IIIC or post it onto our IIIC Wellness Services Page. If you are walking with us on October 4th, share it on our event page on Facebook. Let's show just how easy it is to spread hope and save a life. Help us ensure similar stories have happier endings by joining us for our fundraising "Together For Hope" suicide prevention and awareness walk on October 4th in Dorchester. Check out this link on our website for more information. You too can walk to honor those we love and to save lives!


Q: Some friends of mine recently moved to a new school district, and they have been having trouble enrolling their children in the local public elementary school. Both the parents and the children are legal permanent residents. Can the school stop the children from enrolling in school?

A: No. Under Federal law, all children in the United States are entitled to public elementary and secondary education regardless of their race, color, national origin, citizenship, immigration status or the status of their parents or guardians. So a school has no legal basis to prevent legal resident children from attending. Note especially that this entitlement also extends to cases where children or their parents are undocumented.

There is some confusion about the kinds of information that schools can collect from pupils and their parents without violating federal law. The Civil Rights Division in the US Department of Justice has published a fact sheet with some clarification of this issue. These are the main points:

(1) Schools are allowed to require proof of residency in the school district. Examples of evidence of residency could be a lease or utility bills. However, a school district may not inquire about the citizenship or immigration status of pupils or their parents.

(2) Schools may require a copy of a child’s birth certificate only in order to establish that the child meets the age requirements for a particular grade in school, and they may not prevent a child from enrolling merely because he or she has documentation showing birth outside the United States.

(3) A school may request a child’s Social Security number in order to use it as a student identification number, but it must inform the child and the parents that providing the number is voluntary, and it may not prevent the child from enrolling if the parents choose not to provide the number. [Note: Using Social Security numbers rather than randomly generated numbers for identification purposes in schools, on driver’s licenses, etc. may be unwise in view of the possibility of identity theft.]

(4) Data on race and ethnicity: In order to meet various statistical reporting obligations under federal and state law, schools may request, but may not require, that parents provide such data.

Anyone who believes that a school district is violating federal law with respect to the immigration status of children or their parents may contact one of the following agencies:

Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section

(877) 292-3804 (toll-free);

Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, (800) 421-3481 (toll-free);

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in individual cases. Areas of law are rapidly changing. US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of State frequently amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice seek the assistance of IIIC legal services staff.

New Citizens at Boston City Hall

On Wednesday, September 17th , the U.S. District Court held a special naturalization ceremony at Boston City Hall to commemorate Constitution and Citizenship Day. Twenty-seven Permanent Residents from nineteen different countries took the Oath of Naturalization to become U.S. citizens. Mayor Martin J. Walsh greeted the group of immigrants who had just taken the oath and shared a story with them. “When I was beginning to enter politics”, the Mayor explained, “my mother had been hanging on to her green card for years and years, and she said, 'I guess I'll have to become a citizen now to vote for you one day.'"

J-1 intern is “Living the Dream”

There are many students who have the opportunity to come to the United States on a J-1 Irish Work and Travel Visa, which allows students from Ireland to work in their field of study for a year. At the Irish International Immigrant Center, we are glad to help participants take this opportunity. It is a great way to meet new people, experience a different culture, and gain valuable work experience. One participant, Garreth Browne, is definitely making the most of his time in the United States. Garreth is from Dundalk, County Louth and graduated from Dublin City University in 2013.When asked where he wanted to work in the U.S, he knew it had to be New York City. The bustling environment and the excitement of the city piqued his interest from a young age. “You never get bored here. There is always something to do,” he said.

When he first arrived in New York, he got a summer internship with Talent Consultants International as an Artist Manager Assistant, working with artists and increasing their social media presence. However, after only working there for a couple of weeks, they knew that they wanted to hire him full time for the remainder of his visa. This is a position that is in the industry that Garreth wanted to work in, so he was incredibly excited to get it. “I’m living the dream”, Garreth said. The internship has definitely kept him busy. Whether it’s a photo shoot or an album release party, there is always a new, exciting event for him to go to. Garreth has also enjoyed the close work environment and strong work ethic of the company and noticed how different the work environment is to his previous experiences. Garreth remarked, “Everyone is extremely passionate and enthusiastic about what they do”.

Although he is thoroughly enjoying his internship, Garreth is looking forward to taking a week or so at the end of his program to travel around the United States and see more of the country. When asked about his experience in the United States so far, Garreth said “I am glad that I took the risk and came out here on my own. It was hard at first, but once you get into a routine, it gets easier.”

Quote of the Week

“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” – Sean O’Casey