To empower a community by educating adults, providing help in finding a pathway to legal residency, and sharing the hope of the gospel.
According to the law, only attorneys and Department of Justice (DOJ) accredited representatives are able to represent immigrants to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for applications or in Immigration Court for removal proceedings if fully accredited. In Santa Barbara County there is a need for pro-bono or low cost representation for our immigrant neighbors to USCIS and in Immigration Court. Currently, we have three partially accredited representatives to assist individuals with immigration applications. With your help, Immigrant Hope SB will be able to apply for one of our partially accredited representatives to become fully accredited and by law will be able to represent people in Immigration court. The lack of legal representation has a profound impact on immigrants’ ability to receive a fair hearing and be able to seek relief from deportation. Additionally we are hiring and training an additional partial accredited representative to take over the full accredited representatives’ caseload and assist with our increasing immigration caseload.
I found Immigrant Hope though one of my friends who invited me to take a civics class. When I told her that my English wasn't very good, she said "Don't worry! Just come." I was very nervous, but the teacher offered to pray at the beginning of the class and I felt more comfortable. The teacher asked me why I wanted to become an American citizen - I had never asked myself that question. My husband and I took the civics class together for 9 months, and we went to the interview and passed the test on the first try! We studied very hard because we'd never been in school before and the teacher encouraged us and prayed for us the whole time. Immigrant Hope helped me a lot - they helped me to believe in God all things are possible. They told, "You are smart and so bright!" I had never heard those words before. Now, I work with them, teaching the Driver's Education study course and the civics class!
- Mayra Perez