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Beata Leja Featured on Chicago Ideas Week Blog for Work to Educate Same-Sex Couples about Immigration Benefits

February 24, 2014
Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan

Once again, Minsky, McCormick and Hallagan, P.C. is proud to see attorney Beata Leja featured in Chicago Ideas Week’s blog, The Ideasphere. The group recognized Beata for her work to educate same-sex couples about immigration benefits after the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Beata is a member of the Chicago Ideas Week Cooperative, which envisions itself as the “new-age social chamber of commerce – where nonprofits meet tech junkies, artists meet business leaders and North Side meets South Side.” Chicago Ideas Week is an annual gathering of global thought leaders that seeks to “stimulate new initiatives and ventures, create new connections and collaborations, and establish a community of people who have the desire to achieve great things.” See the Ideasphere’s write up on Beata’s work to educate same-sex couples about immigration benefits below. To view the original article, click here.

Co-op Member Beata Leja and the Chicago Public Libraries Provide Innovative LGBT Programming

The Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of federal recognition of state laws regarding same-sex marriage in June of 2013 had far-reaching implications that went far beyond a rejection of sections of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  In fact, many people impacted by the ruling—including immigrants—did not immediately realize the implications of the decision on their legal standing.

That’s where the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and CIW Co-op Member and immigration attorney Beata Leja come in.  In October, they launched the first of two Chicago Public Library (CPL) events aimed at educating LGBT immigrants of the rights they are now afforded under the ruling.

“[AILA] had wanted to do public outreach about their newly found immigration benefits that they hadn’t had access to previously,” Leja said of her motivation to design the programs.

The informational sessions, held at the Rogers Park Library in October and the Edgewater Branch in November, grew out of an e-mail conversation Leja had with fellow Co-op member and Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon.  With the library’s broader commitment to community-oriented programming, as well as its establishment of an LGBT committee, the two educational programs fit well into the library’s outreach efforts.  Leja and her co-presenters provided information on how immigrants in same-sex marriages can apply for green cards, as well as changes to legal rights regarding deportation, asylum and domestic abuse, among others.

“Once [the government] released information on same-sex couples…we [at the library] knew that this was a topic that ought to be addressed somehow because as the Chicago Public Library we try to serve all populations across the city,” Director of Adult Services at CPL Craig Davis, who coordinated with AILA to produce the events, said.

Leja and AILA are currently working with the library system to design programs focused on the legal changes that will take effect state-wide June 1 with Illinois’s recognition of same-sex marriages.

If you or your loved one need advice on eligibility for an immigration benefit based on a same-sex marriage, please contact an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C.

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