(ESPAÑOL) An Oklahoma City church has opened an immigration center offering consultation and assistance to immigrants.
The Immigration Center at Western Oaks Church of the Nazarene opened June 1 at 7901 NW 16, near the intersection of NW 16 and Council Road.
Western Oaks church member Arlita Harris, and the Rev. Gary Reynolds, senior pastor of Yukon First Church of the Nazarene, operate the center, along with Angelica Escobedo Miranda.
Harris said the three became certified Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) advocates after attending 40 hours of classroom training conducted by World Relief at the Nazarene Theology Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. She said they followed that up with more than 40 hours “shadowing” BIA advocates at the Immigration Connection at May Avenue Wesleyan Church at 5201 S May Ave.
The Board of Immigration Appeals falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.
Harris and Reynolds said a Church of the Nazarene regional district, which includes both their churches, applied to be recognized as a site to offer immigration assistance in December 2016 and received the necessary accreditation in March 2017.
A flyer for the new center, which is open three days a week, stated that the center provides affordable legal immigration assistance such as general consultations; family-based petitions; aid for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also called Dreamers; petitions for survivors of domestic violence or crimes and citizenship assistance.
Reynolds, 65, said the immigration center will offer assistance only within the boundaries of the law. For instance, the advocates may offer help to a U.S. citizen who wants to bring a spouse living in another country to the U.S. or a person who wants help getting his parents to America.
He said they also offer what assistance they can to undocumented immigrants seeking various aid, including the filing of necessary paperwork and documents to move their cases forward or they may refer them to attorneys for necessary legal guidance.