Center for Citizenship and Immigrant Communities

The Center for Citizenship and Immigrant Communities strengthens immigrant rights community by preparing charitable immigration programs to expand their service-delivery capacity and establishing a coordinated service-delivery and legal support architecture.

Search by a particular word or phrase.
Search by a particular blog tag.

The Center for Immigrant Integration

The Center for Immigrant Integration encourages the development of immigrant integration initiatives through the creation of resources and trainings and through the dissemination of network best practices.

Citizenship and Integration National Capacity Building Project

 From 2010 to 2013, CLINIC operated two, two-year grants for national capacity building from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office of Citizenship.   These grants together funded CLINIC’s Citizenship & Integration National Capacity Building Project.  The goals of this project were to expand citizenship services for Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) in underserved communities, and to build the long-term capacity of local affiliates to provide these services.

Through the first grant (2010-2012), CLINIC provided technical assistance and funding to four local affiliate agencies to establish new programs in English as a Second Language (ESL) / citizenship education and/or naturalization application assistance.  The four affiliates were Catholic Charities of Buffalo, NY; Catholic Charities of Cleveland, OH; Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan; and Catholic Charities of Stockton, CA.  Project outcomes are listed below.

 

Citizenship Project Outcomes, 2010-2012

 

Buffalo

Cleveland

Michigan

Stockton

Project Total

Enrolled students

140

 

43

 

115

198

496

LPRs provided with eligibility screening & advice

300

135

196

386

1,017

N-400s filed

222

 

84

 

 

67

 

156

529

BIA recognized?

 

yes

 

yes

yes

yes

N/A

BIA accredited staff or attorney?

yes

yes

yes

yes

N/A

For the second grant (2011-2013), CLINIC provided technical assistance and funding to an additional four local affiliate agencies to establish new programs in ESL/citizenship education and/or naturalization application assistance: Catholic Charities of Indianapolis, IN; Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, CA; Catholic Charities of Onondaga County (Syracuse), NY; and Catholic Charities of Worcester, MA.  CLINIC assisted with project design and curriculum development, offered training on naturalization law and program management, and provided case consultations and intensive assistance with the BIA application process. 

All four of the local affiliate agencies are now authorized to provide immigration legal services (two obtained BIA recognition and two were already recognized), and all are staffed by BIA accredited representatives. Through this grant, CLINIC helped 12 staff at three agencies to obtain accreditation.  All four programs now have well-developed, sustainable citizenship education and legal programs as anticipated under this grant. These educational and legal services meet the benchmarks identified by CLINIC for quality and professionalism.  Collectively, the four affiliates served LPRs from more than 50 countries, with the highest numbers from Mexico, Burma, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Liberia. Many of the clients served by this grant were refugees or immigrants who have special challenges in the naturalization process such as low income or low levels of literacy and formal education.  Below is a summary of outcomes for the second grant.

 

Citizenship Project Outcomes, 2011-2013

 

Indianapolis

Los Angeles

Syracuse

Worcester

Project Total

Enrolled students

140

 

399

 

222

191

952

LPRs provided with eligibility screening & advice

198

1,187

203

260

1,848

N-400s filed:

143

 

839

 

 

143

 

163

1,288

Pass rate for test

90%

96%

96%

94%

94%

Naturalized citizens to date

 

111

 

520

 

99

 

143

873

BIA recognized?

 

yes

 

yes

yes

yes

N/A

BIA accredited staff or attorney?

yes

yes

yes

yes

N/A

 

Project Resources

CLINIC Webinar, All About BIA Recognition and Accreditation

CLINIC Webinar, Harnessing the Power of Partnerships

Toolkit for Volunteer Management - This toolkit is designed to provide programs with help finding tasks for non-legal volunteers, developing a volunteer program, and retaining quality volunteers. 

CLINIC Webinar, All About Fee Waivers

USCIS' Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative

USCIS’ Public Education Initiative to Combat the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law

CLINIC press release, 2011

Office of Citizenship press release, 2011

Citizenship for Us: A Handbook on Naturalization and Citizenship, 6th Edition - This comprehensive guide to the naturalization process provides detailed information on citizenship eligibility, requirements, and benefits. 

Strategies for Naturalizing the Most Vulnerable Applicants, 2nd Edition – This handbook discusses English exemptions, due consideration, reasonable accommodations, disability waivers, oath waivers, fee waivers, and expedited processing.

Citizenship for Elders: Issues and Options in Test Preparation, 2nd Edition - This handbook is based on a nationwide survey of 200 citizenship education programs and contains numerous helpful recommendations and tips from the field.

Volunteers Helping Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens: The Naturalization Group Application Workshop - This free, online course is designed to train volunteers to assist immigrants at group application workshop events.

A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan - This report sets forth the resources, activities, and partnerships that would be required to naturalize as many eligible immigrants as possible.

Toolkit for Creating a Citizenship Preparation Program - This toolkit is for programs searching for a way to serve clients' legal and language needs when pursuing U.S. citizenship.

Citizenship and Civic Participation Toolkit - This toolkit contains a number of resources on citizenship and civic participation.

Toolkit for BIA Recognition and Accreditation - This toolkit is designed to educate agencies on the need for BIA recognition and accreditation and assist them in the application process.

Toolkit for Naturalization Workshops - This toolkit is designed 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.

Toolkit for Case Management - This toolkit is intended to facilitate the process of designing and/or improving the case management system in an immigration program.

Starting a Legal Immigration Program - This guide is designed to give an overview of essentials for starting a new legal services program or sustaining an existing nonprofit legal immigration program.

Managing an Immigration Program: Steps for Creating and Increasing Legal Capacity - This manual describes best practices used by many of the country's most experienced nonprofit immigration programs and managers

 

Have a Question?

If you have any feedback or questions, please contact Laura Burdick at lburdick@cliniclegal.org.

 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR)

COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM:  NOT JUST WHEN BUT HOW

Download CLINIC’s Anti-Fraud Flyer

A CALL FOR COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

CLINIC, and its parent-organization the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), believes the U.S. immigration system is broken, does not serve the needs of the nation, and demands significant reform.  Current immigration laws do not provide an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants access to legal status and a means to fully integrate into the American society. CLINIC believes that the long-term presence of undocumented immigrants, who make significant contributions to the nation’s economy and social fabric, compels the United States to create a legal process for them to become documented, authorized to work, and prepare for naturalization to become U.S. citizens. This earned pathway to citizenship, also called legalization, is a significant component in achieving comprehensive immigration reform. Comprehensive immigration reform is expected to make our nation’s immigration laws fair for immigrants and relevant for the current and future needs of the country, thereby making the U.S. stronger, more secure, and competitive in a globalized economy.

In preparation for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, CLINIC is growing the largest network of grassroots non-profits providing charitable legal immigration services.  CLINIC supports its affiliates to respond to the current needs of low-income immigrants and prepare non-profits to serve the expected needs of undocumented immigrants seeking legal status and eventually citizenship under new immigration laws.  

This webpage is a resource for non-profit legal immigration programs, their stakeholders, and immigrants who will benefit from favorable immigration reform.  The webpage seeks to help programs:

  • Understand the need to legalize undocumented immigrants;
  • Educate people of faith and other advocates on the issue;
  • Inform immigrants on how to prepare for immigration reform;
  • Increase or start legal immigration services in their non-profits.  

To assist local, charitable immigration programs in planning for immigration reform, CLINIC has updated its report, “Preparing for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: An Earned Pathway to Citizenship and Beyond.”


Visit this website often to keep up-to-date on new developments and resources. Meanwhile, you will find links to additional resources below.

ARTICLES ABOUT IMMIGRATION REFORM

AFFILIATES ONLY RESOURCES

OTHER RESOURCES

USEFUL LINKS

  • Justice for Immigrants - A campaign to promote and build nationwide support for comprehensive immigration reform. CLINIC is a member of the campaign.
  • Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) - An online resource for organizations and individuals working on immigration issues. CLINIC is a manager of IAN and a contributor to its resources.
  • Migration Policy Institute - A non-partisan think tank that provides analysis, development, and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national, and international levels.
  • Pew Hispanic Center - A nonpartisan research organization that seeks to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the nation. CLINIC uses its data to analyze where services need to expand in order to serve a growing Hispanic population in the United States.
  • Grant Makers Concerned for Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) - A network of foundations that provide resources that philanthropic organizations need to address the challenges facing newcomers and their host communities and to strengthen society as a whole. CLINIC is a beneficiary and contributes resources for its website.

HAVE A QUESTION?

The New Americans Campaign

In 2011, CLINIC and seven national organizations received a multi-year and multi-state grant to increase the number of eligible Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) to become U.S. citizens by assisting them with the naturalization process through the development of innovative approaches and technologies and exchanging best practices. 

Through the New Americans Campaign, CLINIC provides funding and technical assistance to seven local affiliate agencies to expand and strengthen their existing services in Brooklyn, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and the Washington, DC metro area. These local affiliates receive access to CLINIC’s expertise in naturalization and immigration law, including the immigration and information support line, reduced registration fees for trainings and the Annual Conference, free access to live and recorded webinars, and advocacy support.

To achieve the goal of motivating eligible LPRs to become U.S. citizens and assisting them with the process, each national partner will contribute its organizational strengths to build an integrated program that incorporates:  advocacy; capacity building and training; collaboration among partner organizations, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders; media and communications; direct naturalization services; research; and innovative approaches and technology.

To learn more about NAC’s groundbreaking work to naturalize LPRs around the country, please read “The New Americans Campaign: Helping Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens,” by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the New Americans Campaign Impact and Success Report – November 2015.

 

Our Local Partners

Catholic Charities of Atlanta

Catholic Charities of Atlanta’s (CCA) Immigration Legal Services provides low-cost, quality legal immigration assistance to more than 6,000 immigrants, refugees and those seeking asylum in the United States annually. A multi-lingual nine-person staff specializing in immigration law provide comprehensive immigration legal services to help eligible individuals and families obtain their permanent legal status, assist clients with the naturalization process and provide legal representation during deportation proceedings. CCA specializes in assisting survivors of domestic violence, abandoned or neglected foreign children, detained clients and victims of trafficking and crimes. CCA is the only organization in Georgia to work with immigrant children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their families. CCA’s nationally-recognized attorneys and Accredited Representatives are experienced in representing immigrants who are the victims of trafficking, crimes and domestic abuse.

 

Latin American Association

Latin American Association (LAA) houses a full-service immigration law firm on its premises. LAA’s Immigration Services Department offers an expansive array of affordable legal services to help eligible immigrants obtain legal status in this country. LAA represents clients with all types of immigration cases, including family petitions; naturalization and citizenship; deportation proceedings; legal protections for juveniles and for immigrant victims of crime; asylum; and deferred action, among others.

LAA’s professional staff includes bilingual/bicultural attorneys and paralegals with years of experience practicing immigration law and working with immigrants. LAA is committed to working with individuals to secure the legal protections they may be eligible for. Notably, LAA is the site leader for the local Atlanta NAC collaborative.

 

New American Pathways

New American Pathways is committed to supporting activities that promote the civic involvement of refugee communities and build their self-sufficiency. This includes outreach to encourage participation in the US civic and political system, leadership development for refugee leaders, and cultivation of refugee-led initiatives and groups that help refugees meet their own needs. The Immigration Services team at New American Pathways provides low-cost or no-cost immigration legal services for refugees, asylees, Cuban-Haitian immigrants, victims of human trafficking and other low-income immigrants. These services include applications for legal permanent residency and naturalization (U.S. citizenship), family petitions, travel documents, work permits, and replacement documents. New American Pathways also assist many of its clients to request waivers of the application fees, allowing many to receive immigration benefits that would otherwise be unattainable

 

Catholic Migration Services of Brooklyn, NY

Catholic Migration Services (CMS) was founded in 1971 as the first Diocesan agency in the U.S. to serve the needs of vulnerable immigrants in Brooklyn and Queens. CMS staff provides clients with a broad range of immigration legal services that include adjustment of legal status, attainment of U.S. citizenship, representation of asylum seekers, and family reunification assistance.  Linea Laboral, a toll free bilingual workers' rights hotline, is operated by CMS in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate General in New York, the U.S. Department of Labor and the New York State Department of Labor. Clients come from at least 167 countries and CMS’ multilingual staff provides their services in Albanian, English, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Spanish, and Greek.

 

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, Inc.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charlotte (CCDOC) serves 16 counties in Western North Carolina through its main office in Asheville. CCDOC has an accredited Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Immigration Program that provides high-quality services to over 1,000 low-income immigrants each year.  In 2010, CCDOC assisted with 1,125 immigration cases, including consular processing, family-based petitions, and obtaining lawful permanent residency. Notably, CCDOC is the site leader for the local Charlotte collaborative.

 

Catholic Charities of Dallas, Inc.

Catholic Charities has a fully accredited BIA Immigration and Legal Services (ILS) program that was established in 1975 to assist the growing immigrant population of North Texas. ILS attorneys and accredited staff provide services to clients that include family visa petitions, adjustment of status applications, naturalization services, and deportation representation. Recently, Catholic Charities was awarded a USCIS Citizenship and Integration grant to provide both educational services and direct legal services to citizenship applicants. Catholic Charities is also the site leader for the local Dallas collaborative, and received a national grant from USCIS to extend direct citizenship services to LPRs living in the Dallas area.

 

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

The St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance (“Cabrini Center”) became a program of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in 1986. In 2010, Cabrini Center assisted with filing over 1,000 applications for lawful permanent residents seek naturalization. Cabrini Center is dedicated to providing high quality, low-cost and pro bono legal services to immigrants and refugees who would otherwise not be able to obtain legal representation. Its activities include outreach, legal assessment and counseling, citizenship application assistance, legal representation and advocacy.  Cabrini Center is the largest non-profit immigration legal service provider in Houston accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals to represent individuals in immigration legal matters.  Free citizenship workshops are offered each month and staff provides citizenship application assistance

 

Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Inc.

Since World War II, Catholic Charities of Los Angeles has served newly-arrived immigrants and refugees by assisting them in learning English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) and understanding American social norms, training them for jobs, and helping them to legalize their residency and obtain U.S. citizenship through naturalization.  Catholic Charities has a diverse clientele that have emigrated from Latin America, Southeast Asia, China, Iraq, Iran, Haiti, and Ethiopia.  A recipient of the California Community Foundation grant, Catholic Charities will expand its naturalization services and open immigration services offices in the underserved areas of South Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.

 

Catholic Legal Services, Archdiocese of Miami, Inc.

Catholic Legal Services (CCLS) serves a diverse population in the Miami-Dade County that encompasses Downtown Miami, Coral Gables, and Aventura.  Staff members from CLS conduct presentations on naturalization and citizenship at three adult education centers throughout Miami and target immigrants from Haiti, Central America, Venezuela, and Cuba.  CCLS has also joined efforts with the Archdiocese’s Cambia tu Vida initiative by reaching out to local public and private educational institutions, churches, local businesses, and other entities, to offer immigration legal services, completion and submission of USCIS forms, and citizenship classes to eligible lawful permanent residents seeking naturalization.  Notably, CCLS is the site leader for the local Miami collaborative.

 

Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic

The Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at Florida International University College of Law is a one-semester clinic that intervenes on behalf of vulnerable immigrants of all nationalities in a variety of settings.  Student attorneys represent refugees seeking asylum in the United States as a result of political persecution in their countries of origin; Cuban and Haitian nationals seeking relief under country-specific immigration legislation; immigrant workers who have been victims of wage theft; and other vulnerable populations, such as abused spouses and children, unaccompanied minors, and aliens subject to immigration detention.  Most recently, the Clinic has worked with the New Americans Campaign to provide legal assistance for individuals in south Florida seeking to become U.S. citizens.  The Clinic provides assistance through weekend clinics and individual appointments during the week with student attorneys.  Located in Miami, the Clinic is a member of the Miami collaborative.

 

Florida Immigrant Coalition

Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) is a statewide immigrant rights organization that advocates for the fair treatment of everyone, and is composed of 30 member organizations and over 100 allies, who are grassroots and community organizations, farm workers, youth, advocates, legal service providers, unions and others.  FLIC’s mission is to amplify the power of immigrant communities to impact the root causes of inequality, defending and protecting basic human rights, including the right to live without fear.

FLIC’s citizenship program, Florida New Americans, aims to provide full integration for Florida's largest immigrant communities, advance immigrant rights, and promote active citizenship among New Americans.  As a part of this program, FLIC has already provided free assistance for more than 1000 legal permanent residents to apply for naturalization. FLIC also assists with Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as well as various immigration benefits through their membership.  Located in Miami, FLIC is a member of the Miami collaborative.

 

Catholic Charities of Arlington, VA Hogar Immigrant Services

Founded in 1981, Hogar Immigrant Services responds to the Catholic Church's call for social justice by welcoming the stranger to this country, regardless of ethnicity, religion, nationality, or ability to pay. Hogar's goal is for immigrants to achieve self-sufficiency and participate fully in the greater community. We achieve this goal by offering a combination of legal consultation & representation; English-language instruction & other adult education programs; and naturalization assistance.

Hogar is a leader in providing high-quality services at a fair cost in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Located in Northern Virginia, Hogar is a member of the Washington, DC collaborative and is CLINIC's newest funded partner.

 

CLINIC Project Resources

Graphic Novel: Miguel's Naturalization Interview: Newly updated in 2015, CLINIC's free study guide for the U.S. citizenship test explains the naturalization testing requirements and contains 13 study units on U.S. history and civics with many colorful and historic photos and illustrations, as well as maps, diagrams, and timelines. Designed for both classroom use and for self-study, it includes glossaries of vocabulary words, test review questions, and option study questions that amplify the content.

Completing the Application for Naturalization Form N-400 - This course is designed to help train new immigration legal staff and volunteers.  It takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

CLINIC Study Guide for the Citizenship Test - Newly updated in 2015, CLINIC’s study guide for the U.S. citizenship test explains the naturalization testing requirements and contains 13 study units on U.S. history and civics with many colorful and historic photos and illustrations, as well as maps, diagrams, and timelines.

La Ciudadanía: Cambia Tu Vida -  In 2012, CLINIC launched its first professional multimedia campaign known as La Ciudadanía: Cambia Tu Vida (Citizenship: It Changes Your Life).  The initiative, in partnership with Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, strives to motivate the 1.2 million legal permanent residents in Los Angeles to become U.S. citizens through an eclectic package of television, radio, and print public service announcements.  CLINIC also launched the campaign in Spanish and Haitian-Creole in Miami, Florida in April 2013 in partnership with the Archdiocese of Miami, and plans to bring Cambia tu Vida to other New Americans Campaign cities. 

New Americans Campaign - The New Americans Campaign is a groundbreaking national network of legal-service providers, faith-based organizations, businesses, foundations and community leaders that is paving a better road to citizenship.  The NAC is modernizing and streamlining access to naturalization services, so that greater numbers of legally qualified permanent residents take the critical step to becoming American citizens.  The NAC is currently driving a national, nonpartisan citizenship campaign throughout the country, focused on eight major cities with large numbers of citizenship-eligible residents.  The NAC’s national partners include: Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC); Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC); Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC); Immigration Advocates Network (IAN); International Rescue Committee (IRC); National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund; National Immigration Forum; National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) and Pro Bono Net.

Volunteers Helping Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens: The Naturalization Group Application Workshop - This free course educates people about basic naturalization law and the naturalization group application workshop model.  The course takes approximately 40 minutes to an hour to complete. 

How to Plan and Implement a Mega-Workshop - This webinar educates charitable immigration legal staff on the unique differences of planning and implementing a large, "mega" group application workshop for naturalization and deferred action.

Workbook for Planning a Mega Workshop – This curriculum was created by CLINIC staff for the first hands on “mega” group application workshop hosted by Catholic Charities of Los Angeles at the Mid-Valley Regional Branch Library in North Hills, California.

Citizenship for Us: A Handbook on Naturalization & Citizenship 6th Edition - Citizenship for Us is a comprehensive guide to the naturalization process that provides detailed information on citizenship eligibility, requirements, and benefits and a step-by-step explanation of the N-400 (Application for Naturalization).  The guide includes 13 study units on U.S. history and civics, historic photos, timelines, a sample naturalization interview, and a chapter on civic participation.  It is geared for immigrants, community leaders, ESL teachers, and other non-attorneys.

Citizenship and Civic Participation Toolkit - This toolkit contains a number of resources on citizenship and civic participation.

Toolkit for Naturalization Workshops - This toolkit is designed 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.

Managing an Immigration Program: Steps for Creating and Increasing Legal Capacity - This manual describes best practices used by many of the country's most experienced nonprofit immigration programs and managers.

Group Application Workshop Model - This webinar aims to promote the effective use of the group application workshop model to expand the availability of charitable legal immigration services, principally for naturalization but also for other purposes, including legalization application processing.

"Mega" Group Application Workshop - This webinar educates charitable immigration legal staff on the unique differences of planning and implementing a large, "mega" group application workshop serving 250 or more people for naturalization, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and future comprehensive immigration reform.

USCIS Guide to Naturalization - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) created this Guide to provide better and more consistent information to people interested in naturalization.

USCIS Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative - USCIS strives to promote awareness of the rights, responsibilities, and importance of obtaining U.S. citizenship, and the free naturalization preparation resources available to LPRs and immigrant-serving organization

The New Americans Campaign

CLINIC is proud to be part of The New Americans Campaign, an unprecedented national effort that is paving a better path to citizenship and helping legal residents achieve their dream of becoming American citizens. The NAC is a nonpartisan network of community leaders and foundations, launching a campaign to modernize the system of naturalization assistance and to help more legal permanent immigrants become U.S. citizens.

Because when new Americans gain the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of citizenship, they also contribute more fully to the vitality of our communities and our democracy as a whole.

 

Have a Question?

If you have any feedback or questions, please contact Rommel Calderwood at rcalderwood@cliniclegal.org

Training and Technical Assistance on Building Legal Capacity to Combat Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Against Immigrants

There is a large unmet need for immigration legal services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking. Abusers, offenders and perpetrators of crime often use a person's lack of immigration status as a principal control mechanism and a means of exploitation. If immigration legal services are local and available then survivors of crime may regularize their status and be able to leave the abusive relationship or cooperate fully with law enforcement to convict the offender. Lack of capacity to respond to immigration issues puts survivors of crime at a severe disadvantage.

Throughout the country immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are often fearful to access legal services or law enforcement because of their legal status. Misinformation leads them to believe that asking for help will lead to their deportation and in some cases, when they do reach out for help, they do not receive proper assistance because of lack of training and misinformation on the part of providers. Many of these survivors do qualify for relief under US immigration law. It is critical that domestic violence and sexual assault advocates are able to address one of their most fundamental needs, to obtain legal status. This project works with domestic violence and sexual assault advocates who wish to establish immigration programs within their existing organizational structures, train their staff on starting and maintaining a legal immigration program and provide them with the knowledge about immigration legal benefits that are available to battered immigrants and skills for delivering immigration legal services.

Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Recognition & Accreditation (R&A) is the Department of Justice's certification of nonprofit legal immigration programs and their staff. BIA R & A is a process whereby non attorney advocates working at recognized charitable programs can become legally authorized to practice immigration law. There are over 950 recognized organizations with 1800 accredited representatives practicing immigration law and providing low cost immigration services to immigrants and their families. Domestic violence and sexual assault advocates are perfect candidates for BIA accreditation because of their experience working with survivors of trauma, special interviewing skills, access to information that would support an application for U/VAWA or T status, and long-standing relationships with law enforcement and certifying agencies.

The BIA R&A process is open to nonprofit religious, charitable, social service, or similar organization and allows for its non attorney employees or volunteers to become accredited to practice immigration law with authorization. CLINIC staff have committed to providing grantees with one-on-one technical assistance with the BIA recognition and accreditation process. CLINIC is the lead agency working to develop and improve the management of charitable legal programs for immigrants, having established or assisted one-third of all BIA recognized agencies and almost half of all BIA accredited representatives. The following link provides the current BIA roster of national immigration legal service providers recognized with accredited staff by state: http://www.justice.gov/eoir/ra/raroster.htm.

With the support of the Office on Violence Against Women, through its project, Building Legal Capacity to Combat Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Against Immigrants CLINIC provides grantees with substantive immigration law training and assistance with the application for BIA recognition and accreditation. The primary objective of the project is to create and enhance immigration legal services to battered immigrants across the country in underserved communities, including rural areas. The Project will work with domestic violence and sexual assault advocates to establish immigration programs within their existing organizational structures, train their staff on starting and maintaining a legal immigration program, and provide them with the knowledge and skills for delivering legal immigration services. CLINIC will work to increase the number of BIA recognized agency locations and accredited staff in order to respond to the immigration legal services needs of immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Immigration Management Project

CLINIC strives to meet the growing needs of new and existing charitable legal programs for low-income immigrants. It pursues these goals, in part, by training and advising local programs on good management practices through the Immigration Management Project.

The Immigration Management Project (IMP) provides training in program advocacy and fundraising skills to nonprofit immigration orgqanizations by working directly with the executive and immigration program directors. The IMP shares best practices that help local providers meet immigrants' needs.

Among other accomplishments, the IMP has:

  • Created and published a manual, entitled "Managing an Immigration Program: Steps for Creating and Increasing Legal Capacity" which contains training curricula based on best practices of leaders in the field of nonprofit immigration.
  • Facilitated the first-ever agreement among immigration law support centers to create the Immigration Advocates Network, an Internet portal for agencies that provide newcomers with immigration-related legal assistance.
  • Provided specialized trainings on how to obtain Board of Immigration Appeals agency recognition and staff accreditation.

For additional information on the Immigration Management Project, please contact Jeff Chenoweth at jchenoweth@cliniclegal.org or 202-635-5826.