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Movers and Shakers: New Local Legal/Financial Alliance Ready to Help Immigrants Prepare for Costs of Immigration Reform


BRADENTON – Manatee Community Federal Credit Union is preparing for possible immigration reform by developing new financial products for immigrants who want to begin saving for the costs of normalizing their status now. They have partnered with Jaensch Immigration Law Firm in Sarasota, the largest immigration law firm on the Gulf Coast.

An immigration reform bill is likely on the horizon. The “Gang of 8,” which includes Florida Senator Marco Rubio, is finishing their work on a proposal. Their plan will most likely


include a path to legalization for the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants living in this country. Applicants will likely have to pay a penalty fee in addition to a government fee for the application. The total costs for immigrants and their families are uncertain, but expected to be in the thousands of dollars.

Manatee Community’s new program will allow any person with a social security or tax ID number who lives, works, attends school or worships in Manatee County to open an account and receive a secured loan for $1,000. The loan proceeds will remain on deposit with the credit union. During that time, the loan recipient will pay back the loan in full plus interest. When the recipient pays off the loan, the proceeds remain as deposit money and he or she will have established a payment history with the credit union. The recipient may then use the funds to pay for immigration-related expenses and may be eligible for an unsecured loan which could be used for other costs associated with immigration reform.

Manatee Community has already partnered with Jaensch Immigration Law Firm for this new initiative. “We see this as a triple-win for area immigrants,” says managing attorney P. Christopher Jaensch “Immigrants will establish a relationship with a financial institution that understands their needs and educates them on financial management.  They can build a credit history even if they have had problems in the past. And they can begin to save and prepare for the costs of comprehensive immigration reform, which could be significant.”

A key participant in developing this partnership is Sherod A. Halliburton, the current EVP of Strategic Initiatives at Manatee Community Federal Credit Union. “We believe that the immigrant population and their families may be underserved by local financial institutions and we are proud to create a program that improves their ties to the community and helps them achieve their goals,” says Halliburton.

For more information about Manatee Community Federal Credit Union, visit www.manateecfcu.org.


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