Q: What is ISAAC?
A: The Immigration Service and Aid Center (“ISAAC”) is a nationwide effort utilizing local church-based ministries to help immigrants work through citizenship and immigration issues. It is a joint ministry between the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Baptist University of the Américas. ISAAC helps churches and leaders gain “recognition” and “accreditation” from the U.S. government. This enables church workers to provide immigrants with assistance in the preparation of immigration forms and under certain circumstances, represent them in special immigration courts. ISAAC also provides immigration services at low cost to the immigrant community in San Antonio, Texas
Q: How does a church or organization become recognized?
A: A non-profit organization that wishes to obtain recognition must file a formal application and prove to the satisfaction of federal immigration officials that it only charges “nominal fees” for its services and that it has “adequate knowledge, information and experience” in immigration matters. A recognized organization then must apply for accreditation on behalf of its representative and prove to the satisfaction of federal immigration officials that the representative has adequate knowledge and experience in immigration and naturalization law.
Q: How does ISAAC help a church and its members with this process?
A: ISAAC provides yearly training in basic immigration law through its summer and Fall Institutes. ISAAC can also offer guidance to churches that are committed to seeking recognition and accreditation.
Q: How long is the recognition/accreditation process?
A: The recognition and accreditation process can be rigorous and could take a year or more for an organization or representative with no prior immigration experience.
Q: What else does ISAAC do?
A: ISAAC will serve as an educational resource for our churches. We plan to serve our churches by educating them about employment and ministry issues in this area.
Q: Does ISAAC handle private or individual immigration matters?
A: Yes. ISAAC is a recognized organization by the Board of Immigration Appeals and currently serves out of the Baptist University of the Américas campus with an accredited staff of four people. It offers legal services for nominal fees to the immigrant community in San Antonio, Texas since September of 2013. If you need help with immigration services or seek legal counsel, please contact us at 210-326-3273.
If you would like to talk further about starting an immigration ministry or finding training in your area, please email Jesús Romero or call 210-633-6257.
DISCLAIMER: The following is not intended to be legal advice pertaining to your situation and should not be construed as such. It is for educational and informational purposes only. If you need legal advice, consult a licensed immigration attorney or an accredited representative from a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recognized agency.