With a goal to assist our local community, Hand Up Network, an East Texas-based nonprofit, has launched an immigration service program to assist individuals with a variety of services.
Samuel Smith, CEO of Hand Up Network, said the program was created due to seeing a need in the community, especially through those who receive help from the non-profit.
“We were noticing a lot of our clients were really struggling in this area for these types of services,” he said. “It became very apparent that the only way we were actually going to be able to find those types of services that our clients really needed was to do it ourselves. So we put together a proposal with a concept, developed a concept and so forth.”
Smith, with the help of Flor Nichols, HUN Immigration Development Manager, has been developing the program for a year and even received a large donation from an anonymous donor in the start of 2022.
“We started talking to people in our community, the particular anonymous donor, who asked very clearly to remain anonymous, became very passionate about that and it’s a family that’s very passionate about helping people to be successful in our community,” Smith said.
Smith is excited for HUN to launch the program and said it will help the immigrants of the community who have established a need for the services.
“We have over 20 different countries of immigrants being represented in this community. They ranged from just clients who were struggling with just having some tough times to actually victims of crime and so forth,” he said. “As we started to talk to them we found that a lot had some significant issues related to immigration status, they needed to file things and so forth but they also needed areas of expertise..”
The program will assist with services such as personal consultation, family-based immigration services, humanitarian relief, citizenship services, residence services, assistance to survivors of domestic and other violent crimes, DACA, etc.
HUN is also currently developing training in regards to civics, FAFSA, ESL and other education curriculums, Nichols mentioned.
As for those interested in the programs, a consultation must be done first in order to fully assist, said Nichols. The consultations can be in-person or over the phone with a cost of $50 which will be with Immigration Specialists who have received training and qualifications through the Department of Justice.
Prior to the consultation, those scheduling must fill a questionnaire that must be completed before the appointment which will ask for demographics and background information in order to fully assist and lead the client to the proper path.
Nydia Mungia, Immigration Specialist, mentioned that besides assisting individuals and families with their cases, the HUN program is set to also inform clients.
“What we want the differences of this organization in comparison to others is that we don’t only help them with their legal status but we want to educate them in a way where they can get involved in the community,” she said.
Immigration Specialists are bilingual but will not only be helping hispanic immigrants, Nichols said all services are offered for immigrants from all different countries.
The pricing of services varies through cases, and there’s not an established base fee for them as every service is different depending on the individual or family.
Nichols said that the revenue goes back to the ministry but in comparison to other services HUN is giving them at an affordable rate.
As the program launches, HUN hopes that it allows those who use it to be aware of other services such as the mentoring program and victim services that assist community members for free.
For more information about the Immigration program or book a consultation, call 903-597-5334. For on HUN, go to handupnetwork.com.