The law in the United States allows people to represent themselves in legal matters. The idea is that any person can choose to be his or her own advocate. In addition, a person can have an attorney represent his or her in the legal proceeding that they are facing. What a person will not be able to do is to have just any person off the street represent them in legal matters. This holds true in the case of immigration legal proceedings, whether administratively or in front of the immigration court.
In immigration cases, people can choose to file their own case. To determine what the course of action is, to fill out their own forms, file them, etc. The other option is to have an attorney represent them, prepare the applications on their behalf, and represent their case. An attorney is a person that has a legal education, has passed the bar exam and is licensed by one or more of the States in the US to practice law. When it comes to immigration, the law provides an alternative – this alternative is a Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative.
A Department of Justice Accredited Representative is a non-attorney individual that (1) is employed by a DOJ recognized nonprofit organization; (2) has good moral character; (3) has knowledge and experience of immigration law and procedures; (4) have successfully applied for recognition from the Department of Justice of the United States. These individuals are authorized to practice immigration law as long as (1) they remain accredited; (2) they operate out of a location belonging to the recognized nonprofit; (3) they limit themselves to issues of immigration law. When it comes to USCIS, Department of State, Immigration Courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals, both attorneys and DOJ Accredited Representatives can represent cases in front of them. However, there are two levels of accreditation, one that allows the person to represent only in front of USCIS and the Department of State, and the other that allows for representation at all the levels. You can find a list of accredited representatives here.
There are many fraudulent individuals offering immigration services. Notary Public, tax preparer, and others offer their services in the field of immigration without the legal authority to do so and in many cases without the knowledge. Many individuals and families are victims of unscrupulous individuals and end up losing large amounts of money and in many cases ending up in a worst position that they started with. For more information on this type of fraud, you can click here.
In our agency, we have a staff that is a combination of attorneys and DOJ Accredited Representatives. This allows us to provide you all the knowledge and expertise necessary in your case and to offer you the appropriate legal representation and coverture that you want in these kinds of situations. We are a full-service operation that, among other things, offers legal representation for every case we handle. We do not only answer questions or fill out forms, when we take a case we will represent it from beginning to end.