When the weather heats up and the crops are ready to be planted, LAF’s Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project (IMLAP) kicks it into high gear. This year is no exception. Thousands of migrant workers across the state work every day to plant, cultivate, and pick the food we eat; and IMLAP’s attorneys, paralegals, and students work to protect their legal rights.
Equal Justice Works Fellow Karla Altmayer is finishing up a year-long project focused on female farmworkers, who are more isolated than anyone. She is doing outreach and education across the state that focuses on gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and workplace sexual violence. She has worked to train hundreds of community advocates and empowered farmworkers across the state. She has also developed a curriculum that is being used nationally to train advocates.
Staff Attorney Jose Alonso is working hard on connecting with farmworkers who are working in the fields of Illinois pursuant to the H-2A temporary agricultural visa program. These workers labor and are housed in the most remote and inaccessible parts of the state, in conditions described as “as close to slavery as we have in this county.” Jose is currently working with an organization called Ladder Up to help these migrant workers learn about their rights and obligations under the tax code and for those who have to file income tax returns, to receive assistance in filling out the appropriate tax form.
IMLAP is also leading the way on a Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force. One of very few of its kind around the country, they bring together federal and state law enforcement and government agencies; academia; social services agencies; legal assistance attorneys; and faith-based associations, to combat this every growing problem in Illinois.
Here at LAF, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the constant flux of health care in Illinois as the state works to execute the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and put consumers into managed care systems. As always, new issues are popping up, and this week consumers are dealing with complications in their Marketplace applications.
On August 12, the state sent out notices to approximately 10,300 Illinois consumers who are signed up on the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace regarding citizenship and immigration inconsistencies in their applications. Consumers who receive these notices have until September 5th to respond with the appropriate paperwork or they will lose coverage on September 30th. Our enrollment paralegals have begun advising clients on the steps they must take to keep their coverage.
We recommend that clients who receive this notice immediately log into their HealthCare.gov account and upload the requested documents or mail them to the address listed in the notice—even if they submitted the documents previously. Consumers can also call Illinois Department of Central Management Service at 1-800-318-2596 to determine what documents are needed to verify their citizenship status, or to check whether their documents have been received.
Consumers can receive additional information about maintaining their Marketplace coverage here and here.