Updated: Oct 18
Pro-se litigants or individuals who choose to represent themselves are guaranteed their rights to self-representation under the Sixth Amendment. Although self-representation is legally allowed, there are risks attached to representing oneself in lawsuits or legal cases without the assistance or representation of a lawyer. Nonetheless, there are numerous reasons why someone would elect to represent themselves in their respective cases, including immigration cases. However, proper preparation and knowledge of current immigration laws and forms are necessary for someone to represent themselves in immigration matters successfully. There are various free resources available for self-litigants to assist them in representing themselves in their immigration case.
Here are five public resources available to self-litigants to assist them in their immigration matters:
The United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a United States government agency responsible for protecting our borders, including immigration matters.
The USCIS website is the best website for self-litigants to refer to to check the current status of their immigration matter. This website also includes all the United States government's recent announcements regarding immigration matters, timelines of visa processing, and the latest forms for all immigration matters.
The Legal Aid Society - Immigration & Deportation
The Legal Aid Society is a non-profit organization that provides legal assistance to low-income individuals. Although this organization is based in New York City, its website is full of free resources that could be valuable to self-litigants. Moreover, since immigration matters are federal, the materials provided on their website apply to self-litigants across the United States.
Specifically, the organization's Immigration & Deportation webpage includes information on how to seek legal assistance, legal definitions for immigration matters, and legal materials written for non-legal professionals that address various immigration topics.
The U.S. Department of Justice - EOIR Self-Help Legal Centers
The Department of Justice's Executive Office of Immigration Review has a specific webpage dedicated to pro se respondents of immigration matters that includes self-help guides and information regarding Self Help Legal Centers. Self-litigants can refer to these materials to gain information on immigration court proceedings, forms, and news.
Vera's Immigration and Technical Assistance Center (ITAC) or Other Immigration Centric Non-Profit Organizations
Vera Institute of Justice is a non-profit organization composed of researchers and advocates dedicated to making an impact in changing the legal field to be fair for all. This organization has a specific page dedicated to immigration matters called the Immigration Technical Assistance Center.
Vera's Immigration and Technical Assistance Center, or ITAC, is a searchable online library of various materials, including webinars, articles, presentations, and videos. In addition, the organization also hosts a bi-monthly call to discuss various issues that touch upon immigration matters. Self-litigants might find this library a great resource to seek assistance or clarity in understanding and working on their immigration case.
In addition to the free open-source websites listed above, local libraries are great resources for immigration law books and aids. Moreover, libraries are equipped with computers with internet access that self-litigants can avail to access the websites listed above. More so, librarians could assist in researching immigration topics.
Valiant Immigration Consultants, a Valiant Virtual Paralegals, LLC division, is a company you can trust to help with the immigration situation. Our goal is to provide the immigration services you need anytime. VVP can help you ascertain and gather the requisite immigration forms to represent yourself. For a free consultation, feel free to contact them anytime.