Congregations who want to help immigrants and their families will be surprised to learn just how much they can do.
In addition to offering hospitality and support, congregations can offer critical legal services to under-resourced immigrants. No lawyers required!
The Immigration Alliance is a national, non-profit alliance whose mission is to mobilize congregations to serve the immigrants among us. Among its many educational services, the Immigration Alliance also prepares congregations to launch their own congregation-based legal service sites. At these sites, non-lawyer volunteers can offer immigrants legal counsel including:
- Counseling on immigration-related matters;
- Support in determining eligibility for benefits;
- Assistance in preparing applications for legal immigration status;
- Immigration support to victims of crime and domestic violence;
- Assistance in reuniting families.
The Immigration Alliance offers training that prepares congregations for accreditation through the Federal Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Once accredited, these sites can go to work.
Even if your congregation is not ready to provide legal services, the Immigration Alliance offers a wide array of education resources to help congregations who want to welcome the stranger.
Check them out at http://theimmigrationalliance.org/.