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Immigration Services

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For immigrant families seeking a new life in Florida, it is often very difficult to find affordable, trustworthy legal services and support. The immigration process can be overwhelming and confusing, especially for newcomers who are unfamiliar with the United States’ laws and regulations. The confusion and uncertainty can also leave immigrants vulnerable to fraud and scams. LSF recognizes that immigrants need affordable immigration counseling and trustworthy assistance services. LSF immigration attorneys and accredited Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) representatives help people navigate the complex immigration system. Whether it is obtaining assistance to understand important legal matters, submitting and tracking proper visa applications, or ensuring newcomers obtain the right status for employment in the United States LSF can help.  

What is the difference between migrants, immigrants and refugees?  

A migrant is in the process of relocating to a new home country, once settled in one country they are considered immigrants. Refugees are forced to move whereas immigrants want to move. Through the case management process an immigrant may discover they have refugee status. Contact us to better clarify what path best describes your situation.  Use our LSF Locator to find an office near you. 

  

How does the process work?  

Each individual and family is connected with a variety of options and services through a process called Case Management. Immigrants seeking services are connected with a Case Manager (CM) who can help them understand what services are available to them and how to access those services. 
 

What is the extent of the legal help provided?  

LSF’s Immigration Program focuses exclusively on helping immigrants and refugees to establish legal residency, become citizens and reunite families. Our multilingual counselors help people from more than 70 different nations by providing legal assistance and representation in a full range of immigration-related legal services, from initial advice, to completing forms and filing with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), to full representation before the Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).   

LSF’s areas of legal assistance are listed below, some are available for refugees and some only for immigrants:  

  • Asylum applications  
  • Consular processing  
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)  
  • Employment authorization   
  • Employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant petitions  
  • Family-based petitions  
  • The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA)  
  • Naturalization  
  • Citizenship  
  • Removal hearings  
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SJ)  
  • T or U visas  
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)  
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) petitions  

Family Reunification

During the immigration process families can fall victim to unplanned family separation. LSF seeks to help immigrant families stay together and reunite children with their loved ones whenever possible. When family reunification is not immediately possible the priority is to ensure the minor is placed in a safe and secure home, with relatives if any are available. During the process the child may need temporary housing, and when a suitable home is located the guardians and the home are evaluated to ensure the safety of the child. These are some of the services LSF offers to ensure unaccompanied immigrant children are in a safe home with trusted adults.  

  • Residential Services for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: The Dream Center is a state-licensed facility in Sarasota County that provides care for the youngest and most vulnerable unaccompanied children who have recently arrived in the U.S. The program assesses children’s needs and protection concerns offering education, medical and mental health services, case management, and socialization and recreation. The staff help children to locate family members in the United States and work towards reunification that promotes children’s safety and well-being. 
  • Safe Release Support Services: LSF Safe Release Support sites perform background checks on potential guardians to ensure that children are reunited into safe and secure homes. In addition to conducting the required fingerprint background check, the Safe Release staff walk caregivers through the federal reunification process.  
  • Home Study and Post Release Services: LSF case managers conduct home studies prior to reunification, and provide community-based follow-up services afterwards, connecting children and their families with education, legal, medical, mental health, and other services. 
LUTHERAN SERVICES FLORIDA CENTRAL SERVICES | 3627 W. WATERS AVE | TAMPA, FL 33614 | PHONE: (813) 875-1408 | FAX: (813) 875-1302


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