A DOJ (Department of Justice) accredited representative has the legal authority to assist immigrants with information and advice on immigration law and consular processing. Representatives are accredited by the Department of Justice and must be affiliated with an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice such as Catholic Charities. I have been a DOJ accredited representative for five years even though I worked with the immigration process for many years.
A year ago there was reorganization from the Board of Immigration Appeals to the Department of Justice and thus the initials change from BIA to DOJ. Ever since 2009, or for nine years, I have either worked or volunteered at Su Casa, a program of Catholic Charities in Cincinnati. At present, I volunteer at Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio in their Immigration Legal Services office (ILS). This Immigration Legal Services is a three year-old office made up of the refugee legal department and Su Casa’s legal department.
Accredited representatives can appear in front of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers for asylum, adjustment of status (Green Card) and naturalization interviews. Yet, since I am partially accredited, I cannot appear in front of an immigration judge or the BIA.
Stay tuned for more next month!
By Sister Mary Wendeln
Directive: Stand with the marginalized and networking