Sep 17, 2012

Why Start IPI?

Why is IPI needed?

Why do you want to tackle the most technical component of immigrant ministry?

 That’s what a prospective partner asked when we proposed developing IMMIGRANT PATHWAY Institute. My answer was simple: We started IPI because we need to build our legal capacity to serve the immigrant community!

The last time there was major legalization program, 7 million undocumented immigrants lived in the U.S. Only 1.3 million accepted the government’s generous offer of permanent residency. A reason for the low number was our[1] lack of capacity to legally advise these people. In order to not repeat that failure we must prepare for the coming law change that is inevitable. For us, one of the three keys is to train gospel-focused, government-recognized immigration counselors!

As we surveyed the country, we found only one location that offered the 40-hour training in one week[2]. They only had 30 slots for trainees per year!  At that rate, we would not truly be able to build the kind of legal capacity that would make a difference.   One other component that was missing from all other trainings was a Biblical basis and gospel emphasis. One of our values is to offer compassion with a gospel purpose!

Volunteer-run, church-based ministry

Immigrant Hope has a desire to start 30 new centers within the next five years. Because we hope to run our centers using volunteers, we calculate that we may need to have four trained people to serve at each center.  Few volunteers will be able to work 8-to-5 every day. Thus, we need a ready pool of trained people to draw on, and the existing training just wouldn’t meet that need.

So the reason that we started IPI is to create a pool of gospel-focused, government-recognized immigration counselors! Our value is also to assist the church to be able to impact their community, to serve the vulnerable and make disciples side-by-side.

[1] Immigration advocates

[2] We focused on the 40-hour training in one week because it would be easier for volunteers to participate. A few other organizations offered the equivalent training, but over several months and in different cities.