CIS Liaison Meetings

ILRC facilitates quarterly CIS Liaison Meetings with Non-Profit Agencies

Since 1994, the ILRC has been working with non-profit agencies in the Bay Area to advocate directly with local CIS officials through quarterly Liaison Meetings. These meetings have been very successful in increasing cooperation between the CIS and community agencies, sharing information between non-profit agencies and CIS, and acting as a forum for agencies to share their concerns about case processing and other issues with the local CIS.

Through its time-tested liaison, the ILRC strives to improve immigration practice and policy on the local level—improving the process in concrete ways on a day-to-day basis. Specifically, the liaison approach aims to:

  • Improve local CIS policies regarding particular points of concern in the immigration process that are raised by community-based advocates who serve low-income clients; and
  • Create avenues for timely and reciprocal communication between advocates and the local CIS office that will enhance the quality of legal representation available to low-income immigrants.

The two major arenas of immigration benefits provided in the San Francisco CIS office are adjustment of status (becoming a lawful permanent resident or “green card” holder) and naturalization (becoming a U.S. citizen).

In fostering liaisons between non-profit agencies and the CIS, advocates are able to follow up on problem cases in a more efficient and expeditious manner and many reoccurring problems are eliminated. Non-profits are able to use these lines of communication to alert the CIS about particular problems, such as when a child is about to age-out and lose immigration benefits unless the CIS adjudicates his/her application immediately , how a low income-immigrant can obtain an affidavit of support showing a sufficient amount of income such that the CIS will not declare him/her to be a public charge and thus permit the person to immigrate to the U.S., and how a naturalization applicant  who is on SSI can apply for a disability waiver of the English and civics and history requirements.

Many Bay Area immigrant advocates rely on the ILRC as a facilitator with the CIS. Our relationships with officials at the CIS have been positive, and many officials look to ILRC staff attorneys as knowledgeable experts in immigration law. All Bay Area advocates working with immigrants and for non-profit organizations, law enforcement, governmental agencies, and schools are invited to participate in the quarterly liaison meetings, including attorneys, paralegals, lay advocates, teachers, clergy, and social workers.

To read the records of past meetings, please click here. This is a pass-word protected area due to the sensitive nature of topics discussed at liaison meetings. If you are interested in being added to the liaison meeting list, please email ilrc@ilrc.org to inquire.

If you are interested in establishing liaison meetings in your area, please read this ILRC report to help guide your process. The packet describes how to set up regular liaison meetings as well as the benefits of these meetings.

Documents

Establishing Liaison Meetings

In several districts, the CIS (formerly INS) and community agencies hold regular liaison meetings on naturalization issues. These meetings have been very successful in increasing cooperation between the Immigration Service and community agencies as well as acting as a forum for agencies to share their concerns about naturalization processing with the Service. The packet describes how to set up regular liaison meetings as well as the benefits of these meetings.