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NIJFON announces new executive director

Posted: August 20 2018 at 12:42 PM
Claudia

Claudia Marchan

The Northern Illinois Justice For Our Neighbors (NIJFON) is pleased to announce Claudia Marchan as the organization’s first executive director. 

NIJFON, now in its eighth year, continues to grow in its mission to welcome immigrants into our communities by providing free, high-quality immigration legal services, education, and advocacy. Amid challenging circumstances around immigration policies, the NIJFON board decided it was time to hire a full-time executive director who will be able to implement, along with their other dedicated and capable staff, the vision which they see for the agency’s future. The search began in April and Claudia emerged as the leading candidate.

Claudia began to live out her commitment to serving some of Chicago’s lower-income neighborhoods working on quality of life plans and comprehensive community development as a community organizer. While she continued in this community work she strengthened her skills with degrees in business and administration. 

In this work, she also discovered that her story was like many others and felt empowered to work closely with her community on issues of immigration and education. Her passion to work on immigration issues has always been fueled by her own family’s journey. Claudia immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of five. She grew up in Chicago with her mom who came to the U.S. for a better job and her dad, a lawful permanent legal resident originally from Mexico.

Most recently as Claudia was about to take the next step to live out her passion and come on board with NIJFON, she was presented with a personal family situation which made her realize this is the work that she needs to be doing.


“I will never forget July 25, 2018, two life-changing events took place: I was extremely excited to accept the position of Executive Director at NIJFON and later that day I received a call from my dad’s attorney who informed me that he had been taken from immigration court into detention for removal proceedings,” said Claudia. “I was devastated and could only think that this was a sign of what I need to dedicate my energy to.”

Claudia says she was fortunate to have a network and resources to help her dad, who was cleared and his case terminated. He can now become a U.S. citizen. Working with NIJFON, Claudia says she can help other immigrant families who may not have the resources or knowledge of how to navigate the complicated immigration system.

"Nothing in life happens by coincidence, we are on a forever journey to find ourselves and make ourselves better through others. I believe that joining JFON will not only allow me to become a better person through joining others to fulfill JFON’s mission but that we will all become better together and address the many injustices in our immigration system.”


The NIJFON board of directors says Claudia brings to NIJFON a strong foundation in fiscal management and deep roots in community organizing and leadership development.

“We are confident that she will effectively communicate and work with the diverse group of people, organizations, churches, and foundations that are partners in the mission and ministry of NIJFON,” said NIJFON Board Chairperson Judith Siaba. “We look forward to Claudia coming on board with our dedicated staff which consists of two lawyers -  including our awesome lead lawyer Jenny Ansay - a paralegal and an appointment scheduler.”

Claudia is a mother of two young children and hopes to instill in them a love and passion for education and helping others. To contact Claudia visit nijfon.org.

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