Our friends are the best. We can’t choose our family, but we can choose our friends--and you’ve chosen really well. You love your group of friends. You love the fun you have with each other and the way you enrich each other’s lives.
Your friends have been there for you during your tough seasons, and you’ve been there for them during theirs. It’s what friends do. If you friend isn’t a citizen of your country, then right now, they’re probably dealing with immigration issues. As their friend, you want to help. You might feel helpless against big organizations like the government, but there’s actually a fair amount that you can do. Without further ado, here are three ways to help an immigrant friend.
Get Them in Touch with a Lawyer
Your friend likely has a specific goal in mind when it comes to citizenship. It might be temporary residence, permanent residence, a green card, citizenship, or an appeal. They’ll have a harder time gaining these things on their own, and they should get in touch with a lawyer. It will be easier for you, especially if you have a better grasp of English, to help them find the right lawyer. Offer to assist them in this. If they accept your help, get them in touch with an immigration lawyer. Their lawyer will help fight their case and get them the desire of their heart when it comes to citizenship. As their friend, you want them to get it too, especially if it means they get to stay nearby. Help Them Hone Their English
Once your friend obtains a green card, they’ll be able to legally work. Their chances of getting a job and succeeding in the their job increase when they have a good grasp of English language and culture. Help them understand simple workplace politics in your country, and help them master unusual phrases. Just hanging out with you will help them improve their English, but you can even offer to teach them more about the language and the customs if they want.
Command of English will also help your friend navigate daily tasks, be it from looking for top auto body repair services in Dallas, OR to ordering a prescription at a local pharmacy. It will remove a lot of stressors and also make it easier when applying for citizenship or a green card.
Help Them Understand Their Rights
If your friend isn’t a fantastic English speaker (the two of you might communicate primarily in their first language) then it will be even harder for them to understand their legal rights as an undocumented immigrant. They still have certain medical rights and protection under the law. There are also legal pitfalls they should avoid, since they wouldn’t want any illegal activity on their record. You can do some research alongside them and help them figure out what they can and can’t do, and the kinds of protection that they have under the government.
Being an immigrant isn’t easy. Thankfully, your friend has you. Between you, nonprofits, and their family, your friend will be able to start aiming towards a better future. Do what you can, and offer your help where it’s needed. Together, the two of you might be able to change the face of your friend’s future.