What Is a DOJ-Accredited Representative and why are they important

What is a DOJ-Accredited Respresentative?

What is a DOJ-Accredited Representative?

DOJ-accredited representatives play a vital role in ensuring access to justice for people in need through legal aid.  At North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, we strive to meet the needs of our clients by using a holistic approach and using all resources at our disposal. The inclusion of a DOJ-accredited representative is particularly beneficial for clients seeking free, accessible legal help. These trained non-attorneys, authorized by the Department of Justice, are equipped to offer specialized immigration legal services. The presence of a DOJ-accredited representative augments the attorneys on staff by providing specialized immigration expertise and additional capacity to handle complex cases, thereby enhancing the overall effectiveness of NSLAC’s services 

What is a DOJ-Accredited Representative? 

A DOJ-accredited representative is a trained non-attorney authorized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide immigration legal services. These individuals work exclusively for recognized non-profit organizations, ensuring that those who cannot afford private attorneys have access to crucial legal representation. Depending on their accreditation, DOJ-accredited representatives can represent clients before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), including the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).  

What is the importance of DOJ-accredited representatives? 

The DOJ-accredited representative program was established to bridge the gap in legal representation for immigrants. By working within recognized non-profit organizations, DOJ-accredited representatives provide specialized expertise in immigration law, supporting clients with legal advice, immigration paperwork, and court representation. Through their work, they ensure that low-income and underserved communities receive the help they need to navigate complex immigration processes. 

What is the difference between partial and full accreditation?  

Depending on where a DOJ-accredited representative is on their accreditation, their work may vary significantly.  

  • Partially Accredited Representatives: These representatives can assist with preparing immigration forms, provide legal advice, and represent clients before DHS. However, their representation does not extend to immigration courts or appeals. 
  • Fully Accredited Representatives: In addition to the services provided by partially accredited representatives, fully accredited representatives can represent clients before both DHS and EOIR (the Immigration Court and BIA). This allows them to handle more complex cases, including deportation defense and appeals. 

What types of cases do DOJ-accredited representatives handle?  

DOJ-accredited representatives can handle a wide range of immigration cases, depending on their level of accreditation.  

  • Partially Accredited Representatives: Manage visa applications, work permits, family reunification, asylum applications, and citizenship processes by preparing forms and providing legal advice.  
  • Fully Accredited Representatives: Handle all of the above, plus represent clients before both DHS and EOIR (the Immigration Court and BIA), managing complex cases such as deportation defense and appeals.

What education and training does a DOJ-Accredited Representative require? 

While DOJ-accredited representatives are not required to have a college degree, they must undergo specific training and education in immigration law. This includes completing relevant courses and certifications, as well as participating in ongoing education to stay updated with changes in immigration law. To maintain their accreditation, they must continue to meet certain requirements and adhere to professional, ethical, and performance standards. Regular review and renewal of their accreditation is required to ensure they continue to provide competent and effective legal assistance to immigrants.  

What is the difference between DOJs and Attorneys? 

  • DOJ-Accredited Representatives: These non-attorneys are trained in immigration law and work for DOJ-recognized non-profits. They can either assist with immigration forms and advice (partial accreditation) or represent clients in immigration court (full accreditation), with their licensing managed by the DOJ. 
  • Attorneys: Hold law degrees, are licensed by state bar associations and can practice in all areas of law, representing clients in any legal matter and in all courts. 

NSLAC’s role with DOJ-accredited representatives 

As a non-profit organization, recognized by the EOIR to provide representation through accredited representatives, North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic’s (NSLAC) mission is to provide quality, equitable, free legal services to give low-income, at-risk community members access to justice and the opportunity to live productive and secure lives. Our team, comprising DOJ-accredited representatives and attorneys, ensures that all community members have access to high-quality, legal representation. The work of our NSLAC’s DOJ-accredited representatives goes beyond the courtroom and into the community, engaging in education opportunities to empower individuals with the knowledge they need to navigate the legal system and their rights.  

Why Consider Becoming a DOJ-Accredited Representative? 

The DOJ-Accredited Representative program is a fantastic initiative. It not only supports the immigrant community but also offers a great opportunity for professionals who may not be considering law school at the moment but have a desire to serve immigrants and gain legal experience. “ - Esteban Carbajal, previous DOJ-accredited representative, and NSLAC supervising attorney. 

Free Immigration Services in north suburban Cook County and Lake County 

North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC) provides free legal aid to immigrants living in north suburban Cook County and Lake County, Illinois. If you or someone you know is in need of immigration legal services, please schedule a consultation HERE. Services are available regardless of immigration status. NSLAC also provides free legal aid in domestic violence and housing.  

Sources:  

Board of Immigration Appeals. Board of Immigration Appeals Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Recognition and Accreditation (R&A) Program the BIA Welcomes Suggestions and Encourages the Public to Provide Comments on These FAQs. If You Have Recommendations to Improve These FAQs, Please Contact the Recognition and Accreditation Program Coordinator. 2015. 

“Recognition & Accreditation (R&A) Program.” Www.justice.gov, 13 Jan. 2015, www.justice.gov/eoir/recognition-and-accreditation-program

Tenney, Amy Bliss. DOJ RECOGNITION and ACCREDITATION a Step-By-Step Guide for Non- Profit Community-Based Agencies. Mar. 2021. 

The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed between NSLAC and the reader. NSLAC is not liable for any action taken or not taken based on this blog. Readers should contact an attorney with any questions regarding the content.
Free Immigration Legal Aid in Cook County and Lake County

What is Immigration Parole and Do I Qualify for It?

What is Immigration Parole and Do I Qualify for It? Free Legal Consultation with Experienced Immigration Attorneys. 

Immigration Parole grants temporary authorization allowing an individual to enter or remain in the United States for humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons. It grants entry into the United States but is not the same as legal admission for potential future immigration relief.  The United States offers various forms of immigration-related parole, including Advanced Parole, Humanitarian Parole, and Re-Parole. Parole allows individuals, who may otherwise be inadmissible or ineligible for admission into the United States, permission to enter or remain in the country. North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC) is dedicated to providing free immigration legal aid to community members seeking parole in north suburban Cook County, IL, and Lake County, IL.  

What is Advance Parole? 

Advance Parole is a travel document that can be requested by certain non-citizen individuals already living in the United States, who would like to request travel authorization to temporarily depart the country. Advance Parole allows individuals to travel and lawfully return to the United States. Request for Advance Parole can be made by filing Form I-131 Application for Travel Document and can be submitted for a future date. Although this application can have significant processing times, an expedited request can be made if an applicant wishes to visit a terminally ill relative or seek medical treatment. 

It is important for applicants to be aware of the risk of leaving the United States and attempting to return as Advance Parole does not guarantee admission to the United States. NSLAC advises all applicants to consult an experienced immigration attorney before applying for travel authorization, to review their specific legal situation. Learn more about Travel Documents HERE. 

What is Humanitarian Parole? 

Humanitarian Parole is a discretionary grant made by the US government, allowing individuals temporary permission to enter the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. This could be due to personal circumstances such as needing urgent medical treatment or visiting a critically ill relative. In addition to individual-specific parole requests, The U.S. offers several country specific programs available for nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Ukraine, in response to prevailing conditions in those countries.  

What is the process to apply for Humanitarian Parole? 

A petitioner living in the United States can apply for a travel authorization document on behalf of a beneficiary individual who is outside the United States. A petitioner must submit a declaration of financial support showing that the petitioner can financially support the beneficiary when they come to the United States. If the beneficiary is approved and comes to the United States with travel authorization, they are then considered a Parolee for the duration of their allowed time. As a Parolee, the individual would have temporary legal status and will not accrue unlawful presence in the United States during their authorized Parole period. Depending on the Parole program admitted under, a Parolee may also be eligible for work authorization and certain public benefits during their parole period. Learn more about Humanitarian Parole HERE 

What is Re-Parole? 

Re-Parole is available for individuals from certain countries who are already in the United States under a Humanitarian Parole program and wish to extend their expiring parole period. In late February 2024, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a Re-Parole program for Ukrainian nationals who entered the United States as a Parolee, following the war in Ukraine in February 2022. Under the Ukrainian Re-Parole program, current Parolees can apply to extend their Parole for another two years.  

What are the benefits of applying for Re-Parole? 

 Extending your parole period through Re-Parole can offer several benefits, including 

  • Avoid accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the extended parole period  
  • The opportunity to apply for a work authorization extension for the duration of the new parole period. 
  • Continue to be eligible for certain public benefits during the new parole period.  

For the latest updates of Re-Parole, click HERE

Can NSLAC help me review my Immigration case and determine if I am eligible for Parole? 

Yes, North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic has a diverse and experienced team of immigration attorneys available for free legal aid consultation. They will carefully review your immigration case and help determine if you qualify to file for parole or other potential forms of immigration relief. If you or someone you know needs immigration assistance, please be in touch with NSLAC at 847-737-4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org to review eligibility for our services and to schedule a consultation. NSLAC also offers free legal aid in the areas of domestic violence and housing. 

Parole Mission Moments:  

At North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC), we are proud to share the inspirational stories of those who have successfully obtained Parole, showcasing resilience, determination, and the transformative power of NSLAC’s free legal aid.  

A Granddaughter’s Journey of Love Beyond Borders 

The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed between NSLAC and the reader. NSLAC is not liable for any action taken or not taken based on this blog. Readers should contact an attorney with any questions regarding the content.
Ayuda legal para TPS Venezolano

¿Qué es el TPS venezolano? Preguntas Frecuentes

¿Qué es el TPS venezolano? Preguntas Frecuentes 

En respuesta a las condiciones humanitarias, de seguridad, políticas y ambientales de Venezuela que impiden que sus ciudadanos regresen de manera segura a su país, el Secretario de Seguridad Nacional, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, anunció el 20 de septiembre de 2023 la redesignación y extensión del Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS) venezolano por 18 meses. Esta redesignación permite a los beneficiarios existentes y a los nuevos solicitantes elegibles solicitar o mantener el TPS. 

¿Qué es el TPS? 

El Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS) es un estatus migratorio temporal otorgado por el Secretario de Seguridad Nacional a extranjeros elegibles que se encuentran en los Estados Unidos y que no pueden regresar de manera segura a su país debido a conflictos armados, un desastre ambiental, una epidemia u otras condiciones extraordinarias y temporales. El TPS brinda protección temporal contra la deportación y autorización de empleo en los EE. UU. durante el período designado. Es importante tener en cuenta que el TPS no conduce a la residencia permanente o la ciudadanía. 

¿Qué es el TPS venezolano? 

El 20 de septiembre de 2023, el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional anunció la redesignación y extensión del TPS venezolano por 18 meses. 

  • Para los titulares actuales del TPS venezolano, presentes en los EE. UU. antes del 31 de julio de 2023, esta redesignación proporciona protección temporal continua contra la deportación y autorización de empleo. Esta extensión otorga a los beneficiarios existentes el TPS hasta el 10 de septiembre de 2025.  
  • Para los nuevos solicitantes de TPS venezolano, presentes en los EE. UU. a partir del 31 de julio de 2023, esta redesignación proporcionará a los solicitantes aprobados protección contra la deportación y autorización de empleo hasta el 2 de abril de 2025. 

¿Cuándo debo solicitar el TPS venezolano? 

Puede solicitar el TPS venezolano durante el período de registro determinado por el USCIS. 

  • Para los nuevos solicitantes de TPS venezolano, el período de solicitud comienza el 3 de octubre de 2023 y permanecerá vigente durante 18 meses, finalizando el 2 de abril de 2025.  
  • Los titulares de TPS bajo la designación de Venezuela 2021 deben haberse reinscrito durante el período de re-registro de 60 días que se realizó del 10 de enero de 2024 al 10 de marzo de 2024. 

¿Cuáles son los requisitos para el TPS venezolano? 

Para presentar una solicitud de TPS, los solicitantes deben presentar pruebas de identidad/nacionalidad, pruebas de fecha de entrada y pruebas de residencia continua. 

Ejemplos incluyen: 

  • Identidad/Nacionalidad: copia de su certificado de nacimiento, copia de su pasaporte y/o cualquier documento de identidad nacional que tenga su fotografía.  
  • Fecha de Entrada: copia de su pasaporte, Registro de Entrada/Salida I-94; o copias de documentos especificados en la sección de Residencia Continua a continuación.  
  • Residencia Continua: contratos de arrendamiento, facturas de servicios públicos, registros médicos, correspondencia enviada por correo, cartas de iglesias/organizaciones que confirmen que han estado presentes en los EE. UU., etc. El requisito de residencia continua comienza el 31 de julio de 2023.  

Todos los documentos deben incluir las fechas apropiadas y el nombre del solicitante. 

¿Cuánto tiempo se tarda en recibir el TPS venezolano después de presentar la solicitud? 

Los tiempos de procesamiento varían significativamente. Los solicitantes de TPS venezolano pueden esperar típicamente entre 6 y 18 meses. 

Para los tiempos de procesamiento más actualizados, revise el sitio web del USCIS. 

¿Cuáles son los beneficios del TPS venezolano?  

  • Las personas que obtienen el TPS no pueden ser removidas de los Estados Unidos y no pueden ser detenidas por su estatus migratorio. 
  • Los beneficiarios de TPS pueden obtener autorización de empleo (EAD) y trabajar legalmente en los Estados Unidos.  
  • Los beneficiarios de TPS pueden solicitar autorización de viaje y ser autorizados para viajar sin poner en peligro su estatus de TPS. 

¿Puedo viajar con TPS Venezolano? 

Puede recibir autorización de viaje si tiene un caso de TPS pendiente o si se le ha otorgado TPS. Para solicitar autorización de viaje, los solicitantes y titulares de TPS deben presentar el Formulario I-131, Solicitud de Documento de Viaje, mientras se encuentran en los EE. UU. Si su solicitud de viaje es aprobada, se le emitirá un documento de viaje. 

¿Cómo mantengo el estatus de TPS Venezolano? 

Una vez que se le otorgue el TPS, debe volver a registrarse durante el período de re-registro designado para mantener su estatus. Esto significa que completará y presentará el Formulario I-821, Solicitud de Estatus de Protección Temporal durante el período de re-registro. 

Los titulares de TPS bajo la redesignación de Venezuela 2021 deben haberse vuelto a registrar durante el período de re-registro de 60 días que se realizó del 10 de enero de 2024 al 10 de marzo de 2024. 

Los titulares de TPS venezolanos también deben continuar demostrando residencia continua y presencia física continua en los Estados Unidos. 

¿Puedo recibir beneficios públicos si tengo TPS? 

No, los beneficiarios de TPS no son elegibles para beneficios públicos, pero pueden recibir beneficios públicos si mantienen el estatus de libertad condicional mientras tienen TPS. 

¿Puedo estudiar mientras tengo TPS? 

Sí, los beneficiarios de TPS pueden asistir a universidades y colegios mientras estén en los EE. UU. Sin embargo, si su estatus de TPS termina mientras está en la escuela, necesitará otro estatus (como una visa de estudiante) para continuar su programa. 

¿Es el TPS un estatus permanente? 

El TPS no proporciona un estatus permanente y no conduce a la residencia permanente legal o la ciudadanía. Sin embargo, es renovable hasta que el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional termine la designación de TPS para su país. 

¿Cómo puedo obtener un estatus permanente? 

Para obtener un estatus permanente, deberá calificar y solicitar un método de alivio, como asilo o una petición familiar. El TPS no le impide solicitar otros estatus migratorios.

¿Puedo perder el estatus de TPS? 

Sí, hay varias circunstancias bajo las cuales podría perder su Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS). Si viaja fuera del país sin recibir autorización de viaje, podría perder su estatus de TPS. De manera similar, si no se vuelve a registrar durante el período de re-registro, también podría perder su estatus. Si el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) decide terminar el TPS para su país, su estatus finalizará. 

Ya tengo autorización de trabajo. ¿Debería solicitar el TPS? 

Bajo el TPS, las personas pueden solicitar estatus migratorios separados que pueden usarse como un "estatus de respaldo". El TPS solo terminará si el DHS deja de extender el programa para su país, por lo que típicamente es renovable durante muchos años. Si tiene el TPS como "estatus de respaldo" y algo le sucede a su otro estatus que proporciona su autorización de trabajo, no será removible y permanecerá en estatus legal. 

¿Qué pasa si mi solicitud de TPS no se procesa antes de que expire mi estatus actual de TPS? 

Mientras su solicitud de TPS esté pendiente, no acumulará estatus ilegal. Una vez que se apruebe su TPS, estará autorizado para trabajar. 

Si se me concede el TPS, ¿cuándo debo renovar mi estatus de TPS? 

Al recibir su notificación de aprobación de TPS, habrá una fecha de vencimiento que indicará cuándo debe renovarlo. Recomendamos que presente su renovación al menos 6 meses antes de la fecha de vencimiento. 

¿Qué pasa si tengo otras preguntas? 

Esta guía de preguntas frecuentes tiene como objetivo proporcionar información general. Recomendamos hablar con un abogado de inmigración sobre sus opciones. 

¿Puede NSLAC ayudarme a solicitar el TPS venezolano? 

Sí. Hacer que la asistencia legal sea accesible para todas las comunidades es nuestra prioridad. NSLAC organiza clínicas de TPS regularmente y en una variedad de lugares accesibles, asegurando que los residentes del condado de Cook y del condado de Lake tengan acceso conveniente a estos servicios vitales. Si usted o alguien que conoce necesita asistencia legal de inmigración, por favor comuníquese con NSLAC al 847 737 4042 o envíe un correo electrónico a info@nslegalaid.org. NSLAC también ofrece servicios legales gratuitos de vivienda y violencia doméstica. Intérpretes están disponibles a pedido en todos los idiomas. Los servicios están disponibles independientemente de estatus migratorio. 

Sources:  

“Federal Register:: Request Access.” Unblock.federalregister.gov, 3 Oct. 2023, www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/10/03/2023-21865/extension-and-redesignation-of-venezuela-for-temporary-protected-status. 

“Secretary Mayorkas Announces Extension and Redesignation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status | Homeland Security.” Www.dhs.gov, 20 Sept. 2023, www.dhs.gov/news/2023/09/20/secretary-mayorkas-announces-extension-and-redesignation-venezuela-temporary. 

“Temporary Protected Status Designated Country: Venezuela | USCIS.” Www.uscis.gov, 9 Mar. 2021, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-venezuela. 

“Temporary Protected Status for Venezuela - 2021 Extension and 2023 Re-Designation Frequently Asked Questions | USCIS.” Www.uscis.gov, 2 May 2024, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/venezuela/temporary-protected-status-for-venezuela-2021-extension-and-2023-re-designation-frequently-asked. Accessed 10 May 2024. 

La información en este blog es solo para fines informativos y no debe interpretarse como asesoramiento legal. No se establece una relación abogado-cliente entre NSLAC y el lector. NSLAC no es responsable por cualquier acción tomada o no tomada basada en este blog. Los lectores deben contactar a un abogado con cualquier pregunta relacionada con el contenido.
Free Immigration Legal Aid for Venezuelan TPS

What is Venezuelan TPS: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Venezuelan TPS: Frequently Asked Questions

In response to Venezuela's humanitarian, security, political, and environmental conditions that prevent its nationals from safely returning to their country, the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas, announced on September 20, 2023, the redesignation and extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuela for 18 months. This redesignation allows both existing beneficiaries and eligible new applicants to apply for or retain TPS. 

What is TPS? 

Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is temporary immigration status granted by the Secretary of Homeland Security to eligible foreign nationals present in the U.S., who cannot safely return to their country due to ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. TPS provides temporary protection from deportation and eligibility for work authorization in the U.S. during the designated period. It is important to note that TPS does not lead to permanent resident status or citizenship. 

What is TPS for Venezuela? 

On September 20, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security announced the redesignation and extension of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.  

  • For existing Venezuelan TPS holders, present in the U.S before July 31, 2023, this redesignation provides continued temporary protection from deportation, as well as employment authorization.  This extension gives existing beneficiaries TPS through September 10, 2025. 
  • For new Venezuelan TPS applicants, present in the U.S. as of July 31, 2023, this redesignation will provide approved TPS applicants protection from deportation and employment authorization through April 2, 2025. 

When do I apply for Venezuelan TPS? 

You can apply for Venezuelan TPS during the registration period determined by USCIS. 

  • For new first-time Venezuelan TPS applicants, the application period begins on October 3, 2023, and will remain in effect for 18 months, ending on April 2, 2025.  
  • TPS holders under the Venezuela 2021 designation must have re-registered during the 60-day re-registration period that ran from Jan. 10, 2024, through March 10, 2024. 

What do I need to file for Venezuelan TPS? 

To file for TPS, applicants need to submit identity/nationality evidence, date of entry evidence, and continuous residence evidence. 

Examples include: 

  • Identity/Nationality: copy of your birth certificate, copy of your passport, and/or any national identity document that has your photograph. 
  • Date of Entry: copy of your passport, I-94 Arrival/Departure Record; or copies of documents specified in the Continuous Residence section below. 
  • Continuous Residence: leases, utility bills, medical records, mailed correspondence, letters from church/organization to confirm that they have been present in the U.S., etc. Continuous residence requirement starts on July 31, 2023 

All documents must include the appropriate dates and the name of the applicant. 

How long does Venezuelan TPS take to receive after filing? 

Processing times vary greatly. Venezuelan TPS applicants can typically expect to wait between 6 and 18 months. 

For the most up-to-date processing times please review the USCIS website. 

What are the benefits of Venezuelan TPS 

  • Individuals granted TPS are not removable from the United States and cannot be detained based on their immigration status. 
  • TPS recipients can obtain employment authorization (EAD.) and legally work in the United States 
  • TPS recipients may apply for travel authorization and be granted travel authorization without jeopardizing their TPS status.  

Can I travel on Venezuelan TPS? 

You may be granted travel authorization if you have a pending TPS case, or you have been granted TPS. To request travel authorization, TPS applicants and holders must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, while in the U.S. If your request to travel is granted, you will be issued a travel document. 

How do I keep my Venezuelan TPS status?  

Once you are granted TPS, you must re-register during the designated re-registration period to maintain your status. This means you will complete and file the Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status form during the re-registration period. 

TPS holders under the Venezuela 2021 redesignation must have re-registered during the 60-day re-registration period that ran from Jan. 10, 2024, through March 10, 2024.  

Venezuelan TPS holders must also continue to show both continuous residence and continuous physical presence in the United States. 

Can I receive public benefits if I have TPS? 

You are not eligible for public benefits as a TPS beneficiary, but you may receive public benefits if you maintain parole status while on TPS. 

Can I go to school while on TPS? 

Yes, TPS beneficiaries can attend colleges and universities while in the U.S. If, however, your TPS status ends while you’re in school, you will need another status (like a student visa) to continue your program. 

Is TPS permanent status?  

TPS does not provide permanent status and does not lead to lawful permanent residency or citizenship. However, it is renewable until the Department of Homeland Security terminates the TPS designation for your country. 

How can I get permanent status? 

To get permanent status, you will need to qualify and apply for a method of relief, such as asylum or a family petition. TPS does not prevent you from applying for other statuses and you may be able to apply for separate immigration statuses that can be used as a “backup status.”

Can I ever lose TPS status?  

Yes, there are several circumstances under which you could lose your Temporary Protected Status (TPS). If you travel abroad without receiving travel authorization, you could lose your TPS status. Similarly, if you fail to re-register during the re-registration window, you could also lose status. If the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decides to terminate TPS for your country, your status will end. 

I already have work authorization. Should I apply for TPS? 

Under TPS, individuals are allowed to apply for separate immigration statuses that can be used as a “backup status.” TPS will only end if DHS stops extending the program to your country, so it is typically renewable for many years. If you have TPS as a “backup status” and something happens to your other status that provides your work authorization, you won’t be removable and will remain in lawful status. 

What happens if my TPS application is not processed before my current TPS status expires? 

While your TPS application is pending, you will not accrue unlawful status. Once your TPS is approved, you will be authorized to work. 

If I am granted TPS, when do I need to renew my TPS status?  

Once you receive your TPS approval notice, there will be an expiration date that indicates when you must renew. NSLAC recommends you file your renewal at least 6 months before the expiration date. 

What if I have other questions? 

This FAQ guide is meant to provide general information. We recommend speaking with a qualified immigration attorney about your options. 

Can NSLAC help me apply for Venezuelan TPS? 

Yes. Providing access to legal assistance to all communities is our priority. NSLAC hosts free TPS clinics regularly and in a variety of accessible locations, ensuring that residents of north suburban Cook County and Lake County have convenient access to these vital legal services. If you or someone you know needs access to immigration legal aid, please be in touch with NSLAC at 847 737 4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org. NSLAC also provides free domestic violence legal aid and housing legal aid. Interpreters are available upon request in all languages. Services are available regardless of immigration status.  

Sources:  

“Federal Register :: Request Access.” Unblock.federalregister.gov, 3 Oct. 2023, www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/10/03/2023-21865/extension-and-redesignation-of-venezuela-for-temporary-protected-status. 

“Secretary Mayorkas Announces Extension and Redesignation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status | Homeland Security.” Www.dhs.gov, 20 Sept. 2023, www.dhs.gov/news/2023/09/20/secretary-mayorkas-announces-extension-and-redesignation-venezuela-temporary. 

“Temporary Protected Status Designated Country: Venezuela | USCIS.” Www.uscis.gov, 9 Mar. 2021, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-venezuela. 

“Temporary Protected Status for Venezuela - 2021 Extension and 2023 Re-Designation Frequently Asked Questions | USCIS.” Www.uscis.gov, 2 May 2024, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/venezuela/temporary-protected-status-for-venezuela-2021-extension-and-2023-re-designation-frequently-asked. Accessed 10 May 2024. 

The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed between NSLAC and the reader. NSLAC is not liable for any action taken or not taken based on this blog. Readers should contact an attorney with any questions regarding the content.
Share your immigration story at Skokie Library

Share Your Immigration Story at the Skokie Public Library

In partnership with the Skokie Public Library, NSLAC is pleased to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month alongside the Skokie community. June is Immigrant Heritage Month across the nation. During June we recognize the diverse and valuable contributions of immigrants to American society.

Have a story to tell? Whether you are a recent immigrant or your family has been in the United States for generations, you and your family will have an opportunity to share your 3-5 minute immigration story at the Share Your Immigration Story event at the Skokie Public Library.

Join us on Thursday, June 20th at 6 pm to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month. Click HERE to register and learn more. 

 

 

Immigrant Heritage Month
Human Trafficking

Unveiling the Shadows: A Closer Look at Human Trafficking 

Unveiling the Shadows: A Closer Look at Human Trafficking 

Human trafficking is a pervasive global crisis, that ensnares countless individuals, transcending borders and leaving lives shattered in its wake. Recognizing the signs and raising awareness are critical in combating this modern-day slavery. The information below sheds light on the reality of human trafficking and highlights key indicators to help identify abuse and bring an end to the cycle of exploitation and suffering. NSLAC stands as a beacon of hope for victims and survivors, providing free legal assistance and support to help them break free from the abuse.  

What is human trafficking?  

Under U.S. law, human trafficking refers to the exploitation of individuals through the use of force, deception, or coercion to compel them into labor or commercial sex against their will. It is a form of modern-day slavery that transcends borders and impacts millions of women, men and children globally and within the United States. Human trafficking can manifest in various ways, such as forced labor and sex trafficking.  

  • Forced labor involves the exploitation of individuals through coercion, fraud, or force for labor, services, or financial profit.  
  • Sex trafficking occurs when individuals are coerced, deceived, or forced into engaging in commercial sexual activities.  

While it may seem that human trafficking occurs behind closed doors, victims are often hidden in plain sight.  Traffickers target the most vulnerable, often undocumented immigrants, people of color, those in unstable living situations, or previous victims of abuse. Anyone in any community can be a victim of human trafficking and traffickers often blend into the community. 

Recognizing the Signs 

Human trafficking is a diverse and complex crime, often hidden in plain sight. Learning to recognize the signs is the first step in identifying victims and helping save a life.  

Someone may be experiencing human trafficking or exploitation if they: 

  • Do not have access to important documents such as passports, birth certificates, or work authorization cards. 
  • Have no control over their wages or feel compelled to give their wages directly to a third party. 
  • Experience constant monitoring or restrictions on their movements and phone calls. 
  • Were recruited for work under false promises. 
  • Live in dangerous, overcrowded, and inhumane conditions. 
  • Appear disconnected from their family, friends, or community. 
  • Often exhibit signs of fear, paranoia, tension, disorientation, or confusion. 
  • Live and work in isolated conditions. 
  • Show signs of being denied food, water, sleep, or medical care. 
  • Exhibit physical injuries in various stages of healing. 
  • Cannot freely leave where they live or work. 
  • Are coached in what to say when questioned or are often accompanied by someone to whom they defer.

 If you believe you may have information about a trafficking situation, report a tip HERE 

The Impact of Human Trafficking on Victims and Survivors 

The consequences of human trafficking can be deep and prolonged, affecting victims emotionally, physically, and psychologically, often all at once. Survivors often experience depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and substance abuse. It is also not uncommon for survivors to develop feelings of guilt, shame, or denial, making them reluctant to seek help. 

Recognizing and addressing the trauma of human trafficking is a critical step in a survivor’s path to recovery and well-being. While navigating the trauma of human trafficking can take time, with professional and compassionate trauma-informed support, survivors can begin the journey toward healing and rebuilding their lives beyond the shadows of exploitation and abuse. 

Breaking the Silence and Seeking Help 

Human trafficking has no place in our community, and NSLAC is dedicated to fighting against it. If you or someone you know is showing signs of being a victim of human trafficking, please call 911 or contact the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC). NSLAC offers confidential and free legal help to victims, collaborating closely with law enforcement and other organizations to ensure victims get the professional support and guidance they need. 

If you are in need of free legal services, please contact NSLAC at 847-737-4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org. If this is an emergency, please call 911 immediately.  

How You Can Help

Human trafficking can occur in any community, and raising public awareness is crucial in our fight against this crime. By learning to recognize the key indicators, raising awareness, and reporting suspected cases of human trafficking, individuals, educators, businesses, and first responders all contribute to dismantling the networks of exploitation.

Here are some effective ways to contribute to raising awareness: 

  • Print or digitally share and distribute NSLAC's human trafficking flyer 
  • Share this blog on social media platforms and other digital channels. 
  • Learn more about human trafficking and recognizing the signs HERE 
  • If you suspect human trafficking activity, report a tip HERE 

 Through education and awareness, we can work together to shine a light on human trafficking and protect the most vulnerable individuals in our communities. 

Know the Signs, Be the Change

We all have the potential to identify a human trafficking case and make a life-saving difference. By learning to recognize the signs, raising awareness, and reporting human trafficking, together we play a critical role in combating this global crisis. No one should live in fear for their life. 

We encourage you to be vigilant and share the information found in this blog to help raise awareness with those around you. Through our collective commitment, we can build a future where every individual can live free from fear and exploitation.  

Additional Resources 

Interested in learning more? The resources below provide more information on human trafficking, reporting a tip, identifying abuse, and educational resources.  

Hotlines: 

National Human Trafficking Hotline: To report a potential human trafficking situation, call the hotline at 1-888-373-7888, or submit a tip online here. Learn more about recognizing the signs here 

Domestic Violence: National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 

Dating Violence: National Dating Abuse Helpline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-866-331-9474 

Educational Resources:  

Polaris: Learn more about types of human trafficking HERE 

Blue Campaign: Learn more about human trafficking and find downloadable teaching tools HERE 

References: 

Homeland Security. (n.d.). How You Can Help | Www.dhs.gov. https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/play-role 

Human Trafficking Capacity Building Center. (n.d.). THE VICTIM’S SAFETY AND WELL-BEING TAKE PRIORITY IN ALL MATTERS. https://htcbc.ovc.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh311/files/media/document/Understanding_Trauma_508c.pdf 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2021, January 10) Identify and Assist a Trafficking Victim - United States Department of Statehttps://www.state.gov/identify-and-assist-a-trafficking-victim/#indicators 

Polaris. (2019, October 16). How Human Trafficking Happens | Polaris. Polarisproject.org; Polaris. https://polarisproject.org/understanding-human-trafficking/ 

Polaris. (2019, October 16) The Typology of Modern Slavery | Polaris. Polarisproject.org. https://polarisproject.org/the-typology-of-modern-slavery/ 

 U.S. Department of State. (2023). About Human Trafficking. United States Department of State. https://www.state.gov/humantrafficking-about-human-trafficking/#victims 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2018, October 17). Indicators of Human Trafficking. Department of Homeland Security. https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/indicators-human-trafficking 

U.S Department of State. (n.d.). Public Awareness & Training. United States Department of State. https://www.state.gov/humantrafficking-public-awareness-training/ 

The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed between NSLAC and the reader. NSLAC is not liable for any action taken or not taken based on this blog. Readers should contact an attorney with any questions regarding the content.

Free Legal Aid for Asylum Seekers in north suburban Cook County and Lake County

A Guide to U.S. Asylum

A Guide to U.S. Asylum | Free Immigration Legal Aid in North Suburban Cook County and Lake County

Every year, individuals from various parts of the world come to the United States in search of safety and protection. The United States provides a crucial form of immigration protection known as Asylum to qualifying individuals who cannot safely return to their home countries due to fear of persecution. For many, obtaining approved Asylum status means safety and protection, a route to work authorization, family reunification, and a possible pathway to achieving Permanent Residence Status. North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC) provides free immigration legal aid to immigrants in north suburban Cook County, IL, and Lake County, IL.  

 What is Asylum? 

Asylum is a form of legal immigration status granted to individuals who come to the United States seeking protection due to past persecution or fear of future persecution if they were to return to their Country of Nationality or the Country where they last resided.  

 What are the requirements to qualify for Asylum? 

  • You left your home country due to persecution or fear of future persecution based on one or more of the following – race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. 
  • You are already in the United States or are seeking admission at the border. 
  • You file the Asylum application within one year of entering the United States. 

What is the process for filing for Asylum? 

There are two types of Asylum filings designed for individuals already in the United States who have a valid basis of experienced persecution in the past or fear of future persecution if they were to return to their home country, provided they have been in the United States for less than one year.

  • Affirmative Asylum is a type of petition that is proactively filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services while residing in the United States and before the government initiates any removal or deportation proceedings against you. 
  • Defensive Asylum is a type of Asylum filed when the Department of Homeland Security has initiated Removal Proceedings against you, and you file for Asylum in response to the Removal.  

What are the benefits of applying for Asylum? 

 While your application is being reviewed by the government

  • You may qualify for Work Authorization and a Social Security Number. 
  • You can remain in the United States and not accrue Unlawful Presence, an important factor for potential future immigration claims that you might submit. 
  • You can include your spouse and children present in the USA on your Asylum application. 

Does applying for U.S. Asylum grant me work authorization? 

Applying for U.S. asylum does not automatically grant you work authorization. However, asylum seekers can become eligible for work authorization if they meet certain conditions. 

To apply for work authorization, your asylum application must be pending for at least 150 days. After this period, you can submit your application for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Once submitted, USCIS has an additional 30 days to process your work authorization application and issue your EAD if you are eligible. 

Therefore, while you are not immediately granted work authorization upon applying for asylum, you can seek it after meeting the 150-day waiting period and then applying for an EAD. 

What are the benefits of having an approved Asylum case? 

 Once you have an approved case you can: 

  • Petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States 
  • Apply for Permanent Resident Status (Green card)

Can NSLAC help me review my Immigration situation and determine if I might qualify for Asylum and Immigration Legal Aid? 

Yes, North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic has a team of skilled immigration attorneys and representatives available for free legal aid consultations. They will carefully review your immigration case and determine if you qualify to file for asylum or other possible forms of immigration relief. If you or someone you know needs free immigration assistance, please be in touch with NSLAC at 847-737-4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org to review eligibility for our services and to schedule a consultation. NSLAC also offers free legal aid in the areas of domestic violence and housing. 

For the latest immigration updates, please visit www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-and-asylum/asylum 

Mission Moments: 

At North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC), we are proud to share the inspirational stories of those who have successfully obtained asylum, showcasing resilience, determination, and the transformative power of NSLAC free legal aid.  

Defying Oppression and Fighting for Freedom 

From Service to Safety, a Journey of Hope 

A Journey from Fear to Freedom 

The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed between NSLAC and the reader. NSLAC is not liable for any action taken or not taken based on this blog. Readers should contact an attorney with any questions regarding the content.
TPS for Ukraine

TPS for Ukraine: Frequently Asked Questions

TPS for Ukraine: Frequently Asked Questions

In response to Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia and extraordinary conditions that prevent the safe return of tens of thousands of Ukrainians, the Department of Homeland Security has extended and redesignated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This extension opens the door for an additional 166,700 Ukrainians to obtain work permits and protection against deportations. North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic provides free immigration legal aid services to residents of north suburban Cook County, IL, or Lake County, IL, looking to file TPS for Ukraine.

What is TPS?

Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security when the conditions of a foreign country temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely or where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. This may be because of ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster or epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

When do I apply for Ukrainian TPS?

You can apply for TPS during the registration period determined by USCIS.

For Ukraine, the registration period is August 21, 2023 to April 19, 2025.

How do I apply for TPS?

File Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status along with all necessary evidence and fees (or fee waiver form) with USCIS. The filing can either be done online or through the mail. If you also want to apply for employment authorization, you will need to file form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with the necessary evidence and fees (or fee waiver form). The forms, breakdown of fees, instructions for mailing, and other information can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status.

Can I file one TPS I-821 form for my entire family?

No, each person who qualifies for TPS must submit a separate Form I-821. This includes minor children and spouses.

What do I need to file for TPS?

You need identity/nationality evidence, date of entry evidence, and continuous residence evidence.

Examples include:

  • Identity/Nationality: copy of your passport, copy of your birth certificate, and/or any national identity document that has your photograph.
  • Date of Entry: copy of your passport, I-94 Arrival/Departure Record; or copies of documents specified in the Continuous Residence section below.
  • Continuous Residence: leases, utility bills, medical records, mailed correspondence, letters from church/organization to confirm that they have been present in the U.S., etc.

These must include the appropriate dates and the name of the applicant.

Continuous residence requirement starts on August 16, 2023.

How long does TPS take to receive after filing?

Processing times vary greatly depending on country of origin and backlog. You can typically expect to wait between 6 and 18 months.

What are the benefits of TPS?

  • You are not removable from the United States and cannot be detained based on your immigration status.
  • You can obtain employment authorization (EAD.)
  • You may be granted travel authorization.

Can I travel overseas?

You may be granted travel authorization whether you have a pending TPS case, or you have been granted TPS. You must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, while in the U.S. If your request to travel is granted, you will be issued a travel document.

Can I receive public benefits if I have TPS?

You are not eligible for public benefits as a TPS beneficiary, but you may receive public benefits if you maintain parole status while on TPS.

Can I go to school while on TPS?

Yes, TPS beneficiaries can attend colleges and universities while in the U.S. If, however, your TPS status ends while you’re in school, you will need another status (like a student visa) to continue your program.

Is TPS permanent status?

It is not a permanent status and does not lead to lawful permanent residency or citizenship. It is, however, renewable until the Department of Homeland Security terminates the TPS designation for your country.

How can I get permanent status?

To get permanent status, you will need to qualify and apply for a method of relief, such as asylum or a family petition. TPS does not prevent you from applying for other statuses.

How do I maintain TPS status?

Once you are granted TPS, you must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain your status. This means you will complete and file the Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status form during the re-registration period.

Can I ever lose TPS status?

If you travel abroad without receiving travel authorization, you could lose your TPS status. Additionally, if you fail to re-register during the re-registration window, you could also lose status. Lastly, if DHS terminates the program for your country, your status will end.

I already have work authorization. Should I apply for TPS?

Because you can apply for TPS while you have another status, it can be used as a “backup status.” TPS will only end if DHS stops extending the program to your country, so it is typically renewable for many years. If you have TPS as a “backup status” and something happens to your other status that provides your work authorization, you won’t be removable and will remain in lawful status.

What happens if my TPS application is not processed before my current status expires?

While your TPS application is pending, you will not accrue unlawful status. Once your TPS is approved, you will be authorized to work.

 If I am granted TPS, when do I need to renew my TPS status?

On your TPS approval notice, there will be an expiration date that indicates when you need to renew. We recommend you file your renewal at least 6 months prior to the expiration date.

What if I have other questions?

This FAQ guide is meant to provide general information. We recommend speaking with a qualified immigration attorney about your options.

Can NSLAC help me apply for TPS?

Yes. Making legal assistance accessible to all communities is our priority. NSLAC hosts TPS clinics regularly and in a variety of accessible locations, ensuring that residents of north suburban Cook County and Lake County have convenient access to these vital services. If you or someone you know needs legal assistance, please be in touch with NSLAC at 847 737 4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org. NSLAC also offers free legal services in the areas of housing and domestic violence. Interpreters are available upon request in all languages. Services are available regardless of immigration status.

The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed between NSLAC and the reader. NSLAC is not liable for any action taken or not taken based on this blog. Readers should contact an attorney with any questions regarding the content.

Free Immigration Consultations at Harper College

NSLAC is pleased to partner with Harper College to offer free personal and confidential immigration consultations and general legal guidance to Harper College students. Appointments are available in English, Spanish, Korean, Polish and Russian. To schedule an appointment, please call 847 925 6001. See flyer for more details.

Location: Harper College Community and Career Center, 1375 S. Wolf Rd, Prospect Heights, IL 60070

Time and Dates: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM

  • Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023
  • Tuesday, November 7th, 2023
  • Tuesday, December 5th, 2023
  • Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024
  • Tuesday, February 6th, 2024
  • Tuesday, March 5th, 2024
  • Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024
  • Tuesday, May 7th, 2024
  • Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

 

Free Immigration Consultation in McHenry

Free Legal Immigration Consultation for McHenry County College Students

NSLAC is pleased to partner with McHenry County College to offer free 30-minute immigration consultations to MCC students. Consultations are in-person and virtual.

For in-person sessions, contact Marcos Saldivar, Undocumented Student Liaison, at msaldivar6043@mchenry.edu or call (815) 479-7749. In-person sessions are available the 2nd Wednesday of every month, from 2–4 p.m.

For virtual sessions, contact Lia Kim-Yi at info@nslegalaid.org or call (847) 737-4042. Sessions are available Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

All consultations are confidential.