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Toolkit for BIA Recognition & Accreditation


Does your nonprofit agency want to develop a legal immigration program, but lack attorneys on staff or the money to hire them?

Does your nonprofit agency want to continue providing legal immigration services, but avoid engaging in the unauthorized practice of law? 

Does your nonprofit agency have immigration attorneys on staff, but want to expand its capacity by getting authorization for non-attorney staff to practice immigration law?

In these situations, your agency needs to seek recognition for itself and accreditation for its non-attorney staff from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).  BIA recognition and accreditation is the Department of Justice’s certification of charitable immigration agencies and staff, and allows non-attorney staff to practice immigration law before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the immigration courts. 

The rules governing recognition and accreditation can be found at 8 CFR Section 292.2.

However, the regulations are brief and do not address some of the challenges in compiling the BIA recognition and accreditation application. 

This toolkit is designed to educate agencies on the need for BIA recognition and accreditation and to assist them in the application process.  It is divided into four sections:

  • Section One provides background information about the importance of BIA recognition and accreditation. 
  • Section Two takes you through the steps needed to prepare for and compile the application. 
  • Section Three provides guidelines on the professional code of conduct for BIA accredited representatives and information on how to protect your agency from liability.
  • Section Four focuses on the widespread problem of immigration fraud and provides resources for educating the immigrant community.   

CLINIC welcomes your feedback on this toolkit, including suggestions for additional materials to include.  If you have any feedback or questions, please contact Laura Burdick at



EOIR Main Page on the Recognition & Accreditation Program

New “BIA Issues Three Decisions on Recognition and Accreditation” – CLINIC news article

New BIA Precedent Decision, Matter of United Farm Workers Foundation (2014)

New BIA Precedent Decision, Matter of Ayuda (2014)

Update on New BIA Regulations

CLINIC webinar, “All About BIA Recognition and Accreditation”

Board of Immigration Appeals FAQ Sheet on the Recognition and Accreditation Program

"BIA Releases New FAQ Sheet on Recognition and Accreditation" - CLINIC news article

BIA Precedent Decision, Matter of Central California Legal Services, Inc. (2013)

“BIA Addresses Training Requirements for Accredited Representatives” – CLINIC news article

"BIA Issues Two Decisions on Recognition and Accreditation" - CLINIC news article

Form G-28: Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative



Step-by-Step Guide for BIA Accreditation and Recognition - World Relief and CLINIC

Form EOIR-31, Request for Recognition of a Non-Profit Religious, Charitable, Social Service, or Similar Organization

NEW Form EOIR-31A, Request by Organization for Accreditation of Non-Attorney Representative

Checklist for BIA Recognition and Accreditation Process

Action Plan for Applying for BIA Recognition and Accreditation

CLINIC Training Calendar

Self-Directed E-Learning Course on Fundamentals of Immigration Law

Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) Training Calendar

Immigration Law Library Resources

Sample Application for BIA Agency Recognition and Staff Accreditation: See page 16 of Step-by-Step Guide

Sample Application Cover Letter for BIA Staff Accreditation: See page 20 of Step-by-Step Guide



EOIR Fact Sheet on Professional Conduct Rules for Immigration Attorneys and Representatives

CLINIC's Core Standards for Charitable Immigration Programs

Model Code of Professional Responsibility for BIA Accredited Representatives

Prohibition Against Providing Legal Services Outside the Office & Expectations of Employees

Applying for Renewal of Agency Staff/Volunteer Accreditation: See page 14 of Step-by-Step Guide

Immigration Advocates Network manual, "Notario Fraud Remedies: A Practice Manual for Immigration Practioners"



How to Tell if an Agency is Recognized:

EOIR List of Currently Disciplined Practitioners

Outreach Flyers:

American Bar Association (ABA) Campaign to Fight Notario Fraud

USCIS Information on Finding Legal Advice

USCIS Outreach Materials

Federal Trade Commission Resources

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Community Education Toolkit

Welcome to the Community Education Toolkit. The resources here include fliers and information sheets on common immigration law issues of concern to immigrants and communities. We encourage you to consider the many different ways in which these materials may be distributed, including law office reception areas, naturalization and DACA application workshops, and immigration forums, as well as community centers, schools, and religious institutions.   


We are working to improve and update this toolkit.  Please offer any feedback and suggestions through the Legal Services Practitioner and Community Education Toolkit Feedback Form.  Visit the library regularly to see new resources that will be posted on an ongoing basis.


The creation of this toolkit was supported by a generous grant from the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities, Inc.

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Toolkit for Working with Unaccompanied Children

There has been a dramatic increase in unaccompanied children and families with young children fleeing to the United States since the beginning of 2014.  Children are detained and placed in removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge.  They may be released from custody but they still must fight their case in court.  Children's cases in Immigration Court are very complicated yet even children do not have the right to appointed counsel.  The most common forms of relief sought by unaccompanied children are Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) for children who are the victims of abuse, abandonment and neglect or asylum, primarily gang related or child abuse claims.  The following resources provide information about the surge in unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. border and the common forms of relief available to them.


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Case Management Toolkit

This toolkit is intended to facilitate the process of designing and/or improving the case management system in your immigration program.  In a legal immigration context, case management system consists of: policies and procedures; forms; a database; and files used by legal representatives in a standardized manner for the purposes of delivering professional services and avoiding errors that can result in malpractice and liability.

For an agency just starting an immigration program you may be asking a series of questions:  How will your immigration program deliver services to clients? How do you conduct intake? How do you select cases for representation? How do you collect fees? What systems does your office have in place to ensure that your staff is working effectively and efficiently, and avoiding malpractice and liability issues? How do you track deadlines and caseload priorities?

For more established immigration programs you may be asking these same questions if your office does not have standardized case management policies and procedures in place or if your office finds that the current system is not effective in delivering client services.  

Having a well-designed case management system is essential to running a responsible legal immigration program.  It helps to ensure uniformity, consistency, and high quality work produced by staff, and helps managers more easily supervise a program.  For new immigration programs, it is wise to establish a standardized case management system in the early stages of program development, even before services are provided.  For established programs it is wise to revisit and revise your current case management policies and procedures to standardize them and ensure they are working for all stakeholders: the parent organization leadership, program director, staff, clients, and funders.

This toolkit reviews the essential components of case management.   It provides various resources to help your immigration program design and implement an effective case management system.  For organizations providing Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) immigration services, there are additional considerations when designing your case management system noted throughout the toolkit. 

The toolkit is divided into three sections: Thinking About Case Management; Developing Case Management Policies and Procedures; and Immigration Case Management Tools consisting of case management database and case management forms.  We encourage you to review all sections of this toolkit for a comprehensive understanding of case management system.

  • Provides fundamental information about the case management system and its different components.

Developing Case Management Policies and Procedures

  • Discusses the importance of establishing and documenting step-by-step policies and procedures.

Immigration Case Management Tools

  • Provides information about the types of tools available.  These include case management databases (software and web-based) and forms commonly used for program management and client services

Tell CLINIC What You Think or Need

CLINIC welcomes your feedback on this toolkit, including suggestions or recommendations for additional materials you would like to see on this webpage.  If you have any feedback or questions, please contact Shaila Rahman at

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Citizenship Toolkit

This toolkit contains a variety of resources collected and produced through CLINIC’s citizenship projects.  It is designed to assist agencies providing citizenship services and civic participation opportunities for the most vulnerable applicants.

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Toolkit for Naturalization Workshops


A naturalization group application workshop is a one-day community event that brings professionals and trained volunteers together to assist Lawful Permanent Residents in completing the Application for Naturalization (N-400).  The workshop is an essential tool for efficiently and effectively providing naturalization assistance to large numbers of people.  The success of the workshop model depends on careful planning, thorough training of staff and volunteers, and high quality services. The purpose of this toolkit is to help charitable immigration programs achieve a successful workshop. The forms and sample documents can be used as is or adapted by local programs for their own needs.

We welcome your feedback on this toolkit and its utility. Also, if you have any documents your agency has developed that you would like to send us for inclusion in the toolkit, or suggestions for additional materials to include, please send these to

General Information

Planning & Organizing


Sample Outreach Flyers Announcing Naturalization Workshops:


Forms to Use in the Workshop

Attachments for the N-400

Information for Applicants

·         NEW NAC Best Practices Toolkit for Using Volunteers [please add this]

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Justice For Immigrants Lenten Toolkit

Toolkit cover - image of cross in the desert

The Justice for Immigrants campaign, of which CLINIC is a part, has put together this Lenten toolkit (also available in Spanish) for parishes and communities to use during Lent. It offers weekly resources to accompany you through your Lenten journey. The resources are designed to help you reflect on the biblical call for immigration reform, and act to impact our current political reality.

The Lenten Immigration Resources will provide you with stories, scripture readings, prayers and reflection questions for personal use or to share with a group.

We hope you find these tools useful and engage in a Lenten sacrifice of prayer and advocacy to fix our broken immigration system.

Download the 2015 Lenten Toolkit (pdf)

Download the 2015 Lenten Toolkit in Spanish (pdf)

Download a flyer to promote the 2015 Lenten Toolkit (pdf)



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Partnership Toolkit

Partnerships are a valuable tool for any organization looking to expand or strengthen services in the community. In a well-functioning partnership, all members contribute ideas to the group, coordinate dates and events so that all can participate, and mutually benefit from the partnership. There are several ways to establish a partnership and many tools to use that can help organize and manage the operations.  This toolkit includes sample materials for managing a partnership, guidelines for working within a partnership, and tips on what to look for in a potential partner.


Please contact Leya Speasmaker at if you have any questions or comments about this toolkit.


Download this Toolkit!



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Creating a Workplace ELL Program

Low English language proficiency impacts employee productivity, safety, and retention. Federal and state governments provide only a fraction of the funding needed for English language classes, and businesses have both the space and the financial means to offer this benefit to their Limited English Proficient workers. CLINIC offers the following resource to programs interested in pursuing partnerships with local employers willing to offer English language classes to their employees.  The Creating a Workplace ELL Program toolkit includes program planning documents, examples of currently operating workplace ELL programs, sample marketing materials, and other resources to assist in implementing a workplace ELL program. 


Also see CLINIC’s Creating a Citizenship Preparation Program for information on implementing a legal and language program in-house.

Click on the chapters below to read sections of the Creating a Workplace ELL Program or click here for the entire document.

Program Planning

I.    The Need for Workplace ELL
II.    Benefits of Workplace English Language Training
III.    Program Needs for Workplace ELL Programs
IV.    Planning for your Workplace ELL Program
V.    Sample Workplace ELL Program Model
VI.    Examples of Workplace ELL Programs

Planning for your Workplace ELL ProgramsTools and Other Materials

VII.    Tips for Approaching an Employer (RefugeeWorks)
VIII.   Tackling Employer Concerns (RefugeeWorks)
IX.      Sample Cover Letter to a Prospective Employer
X.       Workplace ELL Program Survey for Teachers
XI.      Workplace ELL Program Survey for Employers
XII.     Workplace ELL Resources (USCIS and others)
XIII.    Workplace ELL Sample Materials

Questions? Contact Leya Speasmaker at

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Asylee Information

In recent years, more than 24,000 people from over 100 nations have been granted asylum in the United States. Asylees have often suffered from persecution in their country of origin, forced migration, detention in the United States, and the uncertainty of the asylum adjudication process. Most confront systemic and bureaucratic barriers to resettlement and integration, and need well-coordinated and prompt social services to ease their transition.

CLINIC's National Asylee Information and Referral Line, which operated for 11 years, from 2001 to 2012, referred asylees to more than 500 local providers of resettlement services such as English language classes, job placement assistance, temporary cash assistance, and medical assistance. Funded by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and operated by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, the referral line provided a single, centralized source of accurate information about service eligibility and programs across the country that assist asylees with the resources they need for a smooth adjustment and early self-sufficiency.  Referral line counselors spoke 18 languages, including English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole, Chinese, French, Russian, and Arabic.

Over its 11 year history, the referral line project:

  • Provided one-on-one help to over 39,000 asylees (about 300 per month).
  • Created and maintained an up-to-date referral database (the first of its kind) of more than 500 local refugee service providers throughout the U.S.
  • Placed outreach information in the regional USCIS asylum offices and improved outreach to asylees in the immigration courts.
  • Created an informational guide to assist service providers who work with asylees. The guide contains information about the benefits and services for which asylees are eligible, including temporary cash and medical assistance, employment assistance, English classes, employment authorization, Social Security cards, I-94s, adjustment of status, travel authorization, change of address, family reunification, and federal student financial aid.




Benefits & Services

CLINIC guide, Asylee Eligibility for Resettlement Assistance 

ORR outreach flyer for asylees (available in 9 languages)

USCIS fee waiver application, Form I-912

USCIS policy guidance on fee waivers, March 2011

USCIS fact sheet on asylee travel


General Information

DHS Office of Immigration Statistics 2012 annual flow report on refugees and asylees

Executive Office for Immigration Review asylum statistics

USCIS asylum page

ORR policy memoranda on asylees


For more information about this project, please contact Laura Burdick at

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Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration (Sept 2013)

Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration discusses five state-level legislative initiatives that promote the integration of immigrants into our states and communities.  The integration measures discussed include legislation that creates tuition equity for all; strengthens human trafficking laws; invests in English language instruction; uses the budget process to integrate immigrants; and enhances access to financial aid and protection against immigration consultant fraud. The document includes model language and talking points that advocates can use to educate legislators about the benefits of integration measures.




Welcoming the Stranger through Immigrant Integration (PDF)

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Volunteer Management Toolkit

Many tasks in an immigration legal services program can be completed by volunteers. Using volunteers when possible frees up staff time that can be devoted to offering more services to clients. This toolkit contains helpful information on how best to use volunteers in your program, how to recruit and retain volunteers, and how to incorporate them into your program’s plan for the passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Sample forms are included as well as sample volunteer job descriptions.

If you have questions regarding this toolkit, please send these to Leya Speasmaker at


Overview of Volunteer Management

10 Reasons to Use Volunteers for Charitable Immigration Legal Services

10 Considerations When Working with Volunteers

Best Practices for Volunteer Management

The Case for Hiring a Volunteer Manager


Needs Assessment: Determining Agency Volunteer Roles

What Volunteers Can and Can’t Do in Legal Work

10 Tasks for a Volunteer in Your Legal Office

Volunteer Roles and Sample Job Description (Summer Legal Intern)

Volunteer Roles and Sample Job Description (Legal Intern)

Volunteer Roles and Sample Job Description (Naturalization Tutor)

Volunteer Roles and Sample Job Description (Civics-Based ESL and Citizenship Instructor )

Volunteer Roles and Sample Job Description (Pro Bono Attorney)

Volunteer Roles and Sample Job Description (Workshop Volunteer)


Recruitment, Matching and Screening 

Where to Find Volunteers

Sample Volunteer Application and Acknowledgement Form

Sample Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement


Training and BIA Accreditation

Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Accreditation for Volunteers

Training Opportunities for Prospective BIA Applicants


Superivision and Motivation

Giving Feedback to Volunteers

Managing a Difficult Volunteer

Sample Evaluation of Volunteers

How to Recognize and Appreciate Volunteers


Tools for Effective Volunteer Management

Technology Tools for Volunteer Work

Resources for Future Exploration


Pro Bono Specific Resources

CLINIC Webinar Using Pro Bono to Maximize Resources

CLINIC Webinar Pro Bono Development

CLINIC Webinar Partnering with Law Schools

Sample Guidelines for Pro Bono Representation (Courtesy of Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project)

Sample Pro Bono Attorney Guidelines (Courtesy of National Immigrant Justice Center)

Sample Pro Bono Retainer Agreement (Courtesy of National Immigrant Justice Center) 

Sample Pro Bono Case Summary (Courtesy of National Immigrant Justice Center)  

Sample Pro Bono Project Newsletter (Courtesy of National Immigrant Justice Center)  

Other Pro Bono Resources

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Toolkit for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Workshops

A group application workshop is a one-day, and in some cases two-day, community even that brings professionals and trained volunteers together to assist childhood arrivals or “DREAMers” in completing applications for Deferred Action.  The workshop is an essential tool for efficiently and effectively providing application assistance to large numbers of people.  The success of the workshop model depends on careful planning, thorough training of staff and volunteers, and high quality services.  The purpose of this toolkit is to help charitable immigration programs and their volunteers achieve a successful workshop.  The forms and sample documents can be used as is or adapted by local programs for their own needs.

We welcome your feedback on this toolkit and its utility.  Also, if you have documents your agency has developed that you would like to send us for inclusion in the toolkit, or suggestions for additional materials to include, please send these to


CLINIC Webinar “Preparing your Program for Implementing Deferred Action for DREAMers” 7/10/12

Planning and Organizing

Applicant Outreach

Volunteer Recruitment and Training

Part 1 - DACA Overview and the Eligibility Guidelines
Part 2 - How to Complete the Application Forms
Part 3 -  Overview of the DACA Workshop Model

Forms to Use in the Workshop

Preparing Application Attachments:

  1. Absences from U.S. Worksheet
  2. Address worksheet
  3. Affidavit checklist
  4. Sample Summary Translation of Birth Certificate


  1. Locate a GED course or testing center near you
  2. State education organizations with information on GED programs
  3. How to register with Selective Service
  4. How to request a Criminal Background Check
  5. How to request juvenile records
  6. Own the Dream FOIA Guide - How to get a copy of your initial DACA request

USCIS Documents

Additional Resources



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Prosecutorial Discretion Toolkit

What is prosecutorial discretion and how can it benefit my client? Over the past year, DHS and White House statements and memos have announced new immigration enforcement policies and priorities. This effort to implement new enforcement standards through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion includes the review of 300,000 cases at all stages of the removal process. While this review commenced in late 2011, it remains on-going.

The purpose of this Toolkit is to help advocates understand various components of prosecutorial discretion ---- who can benefit, what is the process, and what advocates can do to assist clients both before and after the issuance of the Notice to Appear. While the answers to some of these questions are still unclear, the government documents, articles, sample letters and motions, and other materials contained in this Toolkit will help advocates understand DHS prosecutorial discretion enforcement policies and practices.













BIA decision held IJ and BIA authorized to administratively close proceedings even if a party opposes the administrative closure.  The BIA articulated standards for administrative closure.

Rodriguez v. Holder, No. 06-74444, Order (9th Cir. February 6, 2012);
Mata-Fasardo v. Holder, No. 10-71869, Order (9th Cir. February 6, 2012);
Pocasangre v. Holder, No. 10-70629, Order (9th Cir. February 6, 2012);
Middleton v. Holder, No. 09-74038, Order (9th Cir. February 6, 2012).

These cases involve petitions for panel rehearing.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the government to advise the court whether in light of the June 17, 2011 and November 17, 2011 ICE memos on prosecutorial discretion whether the government intends to exercise prosecutorial discretion in these cases and, if so, the effect of such discretion on the cases before the court.






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Creating a Citizenship Program Preparation Toolkit

Citizenship test preparation and quality legal services go hand in hand in assisting an immigrant along the path to citizenship. A prospective bill for comprehensive immigration reform will most likely bring changes in legal and language requirements for citizenship. It is the job of all legal service providers and teaching professionals working with the foreign born to anticipate these requirements and prepare clients in advance. The Creating a Citizenship Program Preparation Toolkit will be helpful to anyone seeking ways to better serve the foreign born as they prepare to naturalize.

Please also see CLINIC’s Creating a Workplace ELL Program for information on how to partner with local businesses and implement a workplace English Language Learning program.

Click on the chapters below to read sections of the Creating a Citizenship Program Preparation Toolkit

  1. Introduction: Tools for a Legal Program Interested in Starting a Citizenship Program - Designed for legal immigration programs interested in creating a citizenship program.
  2. A Client’s  Road to Citizenship - Follow the client’s road to citizenship with this chart that details the step-by-step process a client follows in order to become a U.S. citizen.
  3. Program Needs for Legal and Language Service Programs Combined - Compare the programmatic and equipment needs for legal and language programs, and learn what components of these two programs can be shared.
  4. Citizenship Program Models - Many citizenship programs start small and grow over time. This chart will identify easy services to implement now plus provide ideas for services to plan for in the future.
  5. Planning for a Citizenship Program - Creating a legal and language service program requires a lot of planning and thought. A sample Logic Model is provided to assist program development and a blank template can be printed for individual use.
  6. Program Development - Funding must be considered when planning to open a new program or to offer new services. Use this resource to learn about possible program standards required by funders as well as potential sources of funding.
  7. Integrating Technology into your Program - The use of technology is becoming increasingly important in the legal and language services field. This chart will pinpoint technological advances and improvements programs can make today and into the future.
  8. Sample Course Outlines for Citizenship Class - Click here to view sample course outlines for both ELL-based civics classes and citizenship classes.  
  9. Training  and other Resources - Visit this page to access resources that can be used for planning legal and language service programs.
  10. FAQs - Find answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding a citizenship preparation program.
  11. Terminology - Learn the definitions of commonly used terms and acronyms.

Questions? Contact Leya Speasmaker at

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Using International Law in U.S. Immigration Cases

The following resources were created as part of a partnership between CLINIC and the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University to encourage the use of international law arguments in U.S. immigration cases:

An International Human Right to Free Legal Counsel for Unaccompanied and Separated Children in U.S. Immigration Proceedings, by Sanjula S. Weerasinghe and Andrew I. Schoenholtz, highlights international human rights law and commentary as well as potential arguments based on this law that could be utilized by U.S.-based advocates to promote a right to free legal counsel for unaccompanied and separated children navigating domestic immigration proceedings. Where relevant, the memorandum also references regional human rights law and national policies and identifies further avenues of research for advocates.

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Increasing the Participation of Refugee Seniors in the Civic Life of Their Communities

Created by Mosaica: The Center for Nonprofit Development & Pluralism in partnership with Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. under a project funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, “Technical Assistance to Promote Refugee Citizenship & Civic Participation.” This
guide was developed through a collaboration between Mosaica and the Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning’s “Civic Engagement for All” initiative. It is a companion piece to a webinar conducted on March 9, 2009. The webinar presented a report by the
Center for Intergenerational Learning (CIL) entitled, Community Treasures: Recognizing the Contributions of Older Immigrants and Refugees.

Click Here to Download This Toolkit

Click Here to View the Webinar

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Increasing Refugee Civic Participation: A Guide for Getting Started

The purpose of this guide is to assist organizations that represent, serve, and advocate for refugees1 to think through various approaches to increasing civic participation in refugee communities, and to choose approaches and strategies that will work best for them. It provides
an overview of civic participation definitions, offers example of successful approaches, and identifies barriers to civic participation for refugees. Lastly, it offers suggestions for where to start, including questions to ask in planning a civic participation effort.


Click Here to Download this Toolkit

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