IPI: Frequently Asked Questions

Information about IMMIGRANT PATHWAY Institute, the 40-hour basic immigration law class offered by Immigrant Hope.

Who offers IPI?

IMMIGRANT PATHWAY Institute is offered by Immigrant Hope.  Immigrant Hope is a faith-based non-profit organization with a mission to “Provide immigrants with the Hope of the Gospel, Help finding a pathway to legal residency, and a Home in a church that cares for their needs

Who teaches class sessions at IPI?

Class sessions are taught by experienced immigration attorneys, DOJ accredited representatives and other practitioners in their area of expertise.

What is taught at IPI?

IMMIGRANT PATHWAY Institute is a comprehensive survey of immigration law and legal practice, offered at an introductory level.  Class sessions will touch on topics including family- and employment-based immigration, grounds of inadmissibility and deportability, citizenship and naturalization, legal ethics, and case management.  Students will also hear from pastors, organizational, and denominational leaders about how to engage and mobilize churches to serve immigrants.

Who will attend IPI?

Our classes include students from across the U.S., representing a wide variety of churches, nonprofit organizations and law firms.  Students range from attorneys who want to expand their practice to individuals simply looking for an introduction to the immigration system.  The majority of the students, however, are current or future staff at non-profit immigration legal service providers, preparing to apply for Department of Justice (DOJ) Accreditation.  No experience or organizational affiliation is required to attend, but students are screened to exclude unauthorized practitioners.

Is religious affiliation required to attend IPI?

No. Immigrant Hope is a faith-based, evangelical Christian organization and many students will belong to affiliated churches. Many of the student discussions and some of the presentations will come from a Christian perspective. However, students of any or no religious belief or affiliation are welcome to attend and participate fully. We make every effort to make discussions of faith accessible and relevant, and to encourage contributions from a variety of viewpoints. There is no religious component to the homework or final exam.

What is expected of IPI students?

Students are expected to attend every class session in full, beginning at 8:00 A.M. on Monday and ending at 5:00 P.M. on Friday.  If you need to miss all or part of a class session for any reason, please contact IPI staff for advance permission.

Students will be emailed reading material will be prior to the training to provide an overview of immigration law.  Evening homework will be assigned Monday through Thursday of the training week.  A take-home Final Exam will be distributed on the last day of the training and must be completed within about 3 weeks of the end of class.

The class will be taught at a college level using English-language materials.  Students should be proficient at speaking, reading, and writing English.

Why should I attend IPI?

There are several reasons to attend IMMIGRANT PATHWAY Institute.

Dealing with the immigration system is a experience common to every immigrant in the United States, and many of their family members and friends.  Learning about immigration law can give you an insight into the lives of the immigrants around you and awareness of how best to support and help them.

Learning about the immigration system will give you a new perspective on important national policy issues.  Debate over immigration policy arguably the most significant political issue in the last election and a number of major changes to the immigration system will be proposed, debated, and implemented in the next few years.  Learning what they law actually says and how it is applied can help make you an informed and constructive participant in these conversations.

The people you meet at IMMIGRANT PATHWAY Institute, both presenters and fellow students, can be a tremendous resource.  They will share your passion for serving immigrants and bring a wide range of perspectives, skills, ideas, and contacts to the table.  Students who met at past classes have gone on to collaborate on projects, work with each other’s organizations and share information and ideas.  The presenters are all experienced legal workers and advocates who are willing to volunteer their time to help and equip others; they have served as ongoing resources, even mentors, for past students.

Learning about immigration law the first step toward earning Dept. of Justice (DOJ) accreditation to practice immigration law.  DOJ recognition and accreditation can expand the scope of services offered by your non-profit organization or church. It is a powerful tool for serving and advocating for the immigrants in your community.

What is DOJ accreditation?

Department of Justice (DOJ) accreditation is certification that allows workers at certain nonprofits to provide immigration advice and representation without attorney supervision.

Every immigrant hoping to live in the United States legally must pass through the complex, daunting immigration legal system.  Working with an informed and caring advocate who understands this system can be the difference between successfully obtaining a visa for themselves or family members and incarceration, deportation, separation from family, or thousands of dollars of unnecessary expense.

Not just anyone can offer immigration legal advice.  To prevent abuse and malpractice by unqualified advocates, the Department of Justice allows only two groups of people to practice immigration law: attorneys and non-profit workers who earn DOJ accreditation.  Among other requirements, DOJ accreditation applicants must show that they are knowledgeable and experienced in immigration law.

IMMIGRANT PATHWAY Institute is designed to meet the “knowledge” requirement for DOJ accreditation.  The students and presenters you meet at IPI may also prove to be valuable resources for gaining experience, building a referral network, and knowing who to call with legal questions.

Will I be DOJ accredited when I complete IPI?

No. Completing a class IMMIGRANT PATHWAY Institute is one step toward DOJ accreditation. However, applicants for accreditation must meet other requirements, including:

Click here for more information on the requirements for DOJ recognition and accreditation.

Visit our training calendar to see information or register for future classes.

Training Calendar