Immigrant Connection Site Shadowing Information

Shadowing Dates & Locations

To view all of our shadowing dates and locations please click below on the location most convenient for you. To complete registration please fill out the application form and upon submission and approval an invoice of $600 will be sent. There us a non refundable fee of $200 to confirm registration.

Immigration Connection site shadowing has proven to be the fastest and most cost effective way to move people radically forward toward offering this community transforming ministry for immigrants in a local church.
– David Drury, Founding Board Member of The Immigration Alliance, Chief of Staff, The Wesleyan Church

Thank you for leading strong in this area for the denomination. My hope is that more churches not only jump on-board and engage with Immigrant Connection but also embrace the community transformation mindset that both you and Jim possess.
– Justin Barnes, Outreach Pastor, Heritage Church

The Immigrant Legal Services Shadowing, Observation, and Legal Experience Program developed by Immigrant Connection is innovative in that the sole purpose of the program is to equip attendees with the hands-on training and experience necessary to offer low cost immigrant legal services. As the legal technical support provider to Immigrant Connection sites, World Relief believes that this program is a great place for people wishing to apply for BIA accreditation to get exposure to necessary legal and program management skills. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a well-structured introduction to the realities of running an immigration legal services ministry.
– Courtney Tudi, Managing Attorney Capacity Building

Thanks again, so much, for the excellent training and personal care you gave us last week. Truly, a highlight for us! We came home absolutely full – both of great Mexican food as well as inspiration and gratitude.
– Mark Cryderman, Free Methodist Pastor, Detroit

I believe in the Immigrant Connection Shadowing Experiences primarily because our week-long experience is less about observation and fully focused on engaged, active participation.
Zach Szmara, Immigrant Connection Shadowing Director, BIA Rep Immigrant Connection at The Bridge

The shadowing experience with you and your team was excellent, informative and enlightening, we came away armed and ready to roll; I would definitely recommend this model to anyone who would want to do this in the future.
– Grace Bassey, National Wesleyan Church, Maryland

What you gain as a shadowing participant

In order to receive recognition and accreditation from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), a site must demonstrate that “it has at its disposal adequate knowledge and experience in immigration law.” 8 CFR §292.2(a)(2). This is accomplished through the individual applying for accreditation. The Board of Immigration Appeals recommends an individual receive between 40-80 hours of experience before applying for partial accreditation. Most IC applicants have had between 40-55 hours of shadowing and have been approved.

A shadowing program is necessary for prospective applicants for recognition and accreditation to gain necessary hands-on experience. The goal of this experience is for a person to work under the supervision and mentorship of a BIA accredited representative or immigration attorney to learn how an immigration legal services program operates on a day-to-day basis.

During a shadowing experience, one will have the opportunity to observe a variety of cases and client interactions. These include, but will not be limited to:

  • Intake interview
  • Follow up appointment
  • Collection and organization of client documents
  • Completion of a variety of immigration benefits applications (see list)
  • Review of office policies and procedures
  • Appointment scheduling and client responsibilities

Hands-on Immigration Legal Services Experience

An observer will have the chance to participate in as many day-to-day activities as possible. Towards the end of the experience, if the mentor feels comfortable, the observer will be allowed to interact with clients. During the experience, the observer will have a number of opportunities to ask questions of and learn from the mentor’s individual experiences. These question/answer sessions should be done so as not to interfere greatly with mentor’s responsibilities and prior commitments.

While it is important for prospective applicants to become familiar with legal procedures and the requirements to apply for various immigration benefits, it is also vital to gain an understanding of program management and successful policies. An observer will have at least one discussion with the program director to learn how the office is run and strategies that may help in setting up a new immigrant legal services program. The program director will feel free to share both positive and negative tips and tricks as well as any documents that may be helpful to setting up a new program.

Immigration forms to be completed and reviewed*

{AR-11, G-28, G-325A, G-639, I-9, I-90, I-130, I-131, I-485, I-601, I-730, I751, I-765, I-821, I-21D, I-864, I864A, I-918, N-400, DS-260 (DS-230)}

*This should not be viewed as an all-inclusive list. As many forms as possible should be reviewed during the shadowing experience

Upcoming Shadowing Experiences

Upcoming Shadowing Experience

Immigrant Connection DOJ Representatives and Leadership
Zach Szmara

Zach Szmara

Pastor, The Bridge Community Church Executive Director & DOJ Accredited Representative, Immigrant Connection @ The Bridge National Director, Immigrant Connection (The Wesleyan Church)

Immigrant Connection at The Bridge Community Church is located in Logansport, Indiana. Logansport is home to 20,000 residents of which 1/3 are from an immigrant family. The Immigrant Connection site at The Bridge has been recognized since February 2014 and has served over 400 individuals from over 40 nations. The site is run by the church’s pastor who is a BIA accredited representative and has one other BIA representative serving at this location. The Bridge is a multicultural, multilingual church of around 80+ people that worship together/juntos in both English and Spanish.

Jim Wood

Jim Wood

Pastor and DOJ Representative, Immigrant Connection Inc. at Olathe Wesleyan

In 1994, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Christian Ministry, Christian Education and Biblical Literature from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. In 1997, he graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree. He served as an assistant pastor of the Wesleyan Community Church in Oak Lawn, Illinois and Calvary Wesleyan Church in Barberton, Ohio. He served in district leadership in both the Kansas District of The Wesleyan Church and the West Michigan District of The Wesleyan Church. In 2008, he became the Lead Pastor of the Olathe Wesleyan Church. In 2009, he graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree. Under his leadership the Olathe Wesleyan Church has launched Mosaikon Comunidad de Fe, the KidZone Learning Center & Pre-school as well as Immigrant Connection, Inc. He is accredited as a legal representative by the Board of Immigration Appeals and serves as the Executive Director of Immigrant Connection, Inc. He has served as a Project Manager for Stadia and is passionate about church planting.