Resources on DOJ Recognition and Accreditation

For general information on recognition and accreditation, visit our issue page.

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The Department of Justice published two notices in the Federal Register on July 13, 2020, re-opening for public comment the revised versions of forms EOIR-31 and EOIR-31A, which are used to apply for recognition of non-profit organizations and accreditation of non-attorney representatives. Public comments are due by Sept. 11, 2020. This resource contains links to the Federal Register announcements and the revised forms for comment.

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The Recognition & Accreditation, or R&A, program governs how nonprofit organizations provide charitable immigration legal services. Nonprofits that meet certain requirements apply for recognition, and non-attorney staff members may apply for accreditation after completing rigorous training focused on immigration law. Accredited individuals can help clients with immigration matters before government agencies, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the asylum office. Certain accredited representatives may represent clients in immigration court.

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On May 19, 2020, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. and World Relief submitted a letter to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, or EOIR, requesting rescission of the new versions of Forms EOIR-31 and EOIR-31A for the Department of Justice Recognition and Accreditation Program.

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The Justice Department put in place an interim rule on Aug. 26 that threatens the Recognition and Accreditation Program. This collection of stories illustrates why this vital program must be protected.

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EOIR’s R&A Program accredits non-attorneys to represent noncitizens before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which includes the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Once accredited by EOIR, “Accredited Representatives” may only provide immigration legal services through recognized organizations, which are non-profit, federally tax-exempt entities.

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What is an accredited representative? An accredited representative is a non-attorney who has demonstrated to the Department of Justice that they have enough education and experience in immigration law to provide immigration legal services. The purpose of the program is to improve access to justice by increasing the number of representatives serving low-income immigrants. Accredited representatives must work for a non-profit organization providing immigration legal services to low-income clients.