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Former Teacher Working To Help Immigrants On Path To Citizenship

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

A former teacher put down the red grading pen to help immigrants cut through the red tape here in Green Country.

Casey Jones says he was tired of seeing his international friends getting scammed in Tulsa.

So, he started The American Dream Center last June and this week opened a brick-and-mortar office hoping to give a voice to the voiceless.

"There has to be an organization that, like, fights for them. Is basically an advocate for these people," says Jones.

"Our systems are confusing. Insurance, the hospital visits, like I'm, even me navigating it as an American is so frustrating, time-consuming, and it gets tiresome. One of my friends needed a Visa, and they went to this lawyer, $10,000 and still no Visa."

People like River Vu a single mom from Vietnam who's working two jobs to provide for her 4-year-old girl.

"He asked around for used furniture and stuff so it's very grateful that I don't have to spend money on that because I couldn't afford all of that," said Vu. She says people have been quick to take advantage of her.

"Of course, because I don't speak English very well, especially in the past, I didn't understand what was going on. I got to pay a lot of money and I didn't understand why."

Jones and other volunteers have already touched more than 20 other families.

"One family we helped, they were working for this company, but the company was not paying their wages," said Jones.

The American Dream Center helps immigrants find jobs, housing, insurance, and lawyers and is working on getting accredited by the Department of Justice to help people navigate the citizenship process.

"They're not alone, that's the main thing. And it feels good."

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