Do you want to help people achieve the American dream? Are you interested in law and wish to assist immigrants in navigating the legal system? Immigration paralegals play an important role in helping immigrants become legal residents of the United States.

They are in charge of assisting clients with their applications, gathering evidence, preparing court documents, and other responsibilities. So, if you want to make a difference in people's lives, look for an immigration law firm headquartered in your city and consider a career as an immigration paralegal!

What Is an Immigration Paralegal?

Immigration paralegals are an important part of the legal team that assists clients with the immigration process in the United States. They collaborate with immigration attorneys to prepare and file required documents, communicate with clients, and provide assistance during interviews and hearings.

Moreover, immigration paralegals must be well-versed in immigration law and procedures, as well as cultural issues that may affect their clients. They must possess excellent communication skills, as well as strong organizational skills.

Most importantly, they must be dedicated to assisting their clients in navigating the frequently complex immigration process. Immigration paralegals are critical in ensuring that immigrants receive the legal assistance they require to begin their new lives in the United States.

What Is Immigration Law?

The national statutes, regulations, and policies that govern immigration into and deportation from a country are referred to as immigration law. It is usually distinct from citizenship law, which bestows rights and responsibilities on individuals based on their status as citizens of a country.

Most countries have laws that govern foreign nationals' entry into the country, as well as the conditions under which they may remain and work. These laws may also govern the rights of permanent residents and citizens to sponsor family members for immigration in some cases.

Foreign nationals may be required to obtain a visa or other permit before entering a country, depending on the country's immigration policy. They may face additional restrictions on their right to work, study, or travel once they arrive in the country. Immigration law may also protect refugees, asylum seekers, and other individuals fleeing persecution or violence.

Immigration Paralegal - Job Description

Many of the preparatory and organizational tasks associated with the legal process of immigration are handled by a paralegal. The following are the primary responsibilities of an immigration paralegal that they can perform without the assistance of an attorney:

  • An immigration paralegal assists clients with the preparation and submission of their immigration applications. That’s why the paralegal must be well-versed in the immigration process as well as the relevant laws and regulations.
  • Immigration paralegals must communicate effectively with clients, government officials, and other professionals that work in an immigration law firm.
  • Keeping track of case files and deadlines. That’s why immigration paralegals must be detail-oriented and organized.
  • Conducting legal research and drafting legal documents as part of their immigration paralegal duties.
  • Using immigration database software like LawLogix and eIMMIGRATION is highly desirable.
  • Preparing briefs and other legal documents. Immigration paralegals must therefore have strong writing skills.
  • Identifying problems and developing solutions by leveraging their analytical skills.
  • Applying for visas, permanent residence, and other benefits on behalf of their clients.

How To Become an Immigration Paralegal

There are several paths you can take to become an immigration paralegal. One option is to enroll in a certified paralegal program with an emphasis on immigration law. Alternatively, you can earn a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies with a minor or concentration in immigration law.

Many community colleges also offer immigration paralegal studies certificate programs. Whatever path you take, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).

After completing your educational requirements, you must pass the National Association of Legal Assistants' Certified Legal Assistant or Paralegal (CLA or CP) examination. If you pass the exam, you can use the designations “CLA” or “CP” after your name.

You will be well on your way to an immigration paralegal career once you have obtained your educational and professional qualifications. Immigration law is a complex and ever-changing area of the law, so staying up to date on all the latest developments is crucial.

To accomplish this, you might want to join professional organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and attend their annual conferences. This will be a valuable addition to your immigration paralegal resume.

Furthermore, you can subscribe to and read immigration law journals and newsletters on a regular basis. You will be well-positioned to provide high-quality assistance to your clients if you stay up to date on all the latest news and developments in immigration law.

Immigration Paralegal - Salary

In 2021, paralegals and legal assistants earned a median annual salary of $56,230, as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Salary estimates are just that - estimates; actual salaries may vary considerably based on factors such as area of expertise, years of experience, and geographic location. Projections of long-term employment growth at the national level may not be indicative of local and temporary economic or job conditions and, therefore, may not be relied upon to accurately predict future employment levels.

Immigration Paralegal - Job Outlook 

Immigration paralegals can expect significant job growth in the coming years. As stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals and legal assistants will grow by 14% between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

It's important to note that the best job prospects will go to those immigration paralegals who are bilingual and have experience working with clients from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

The Importance of an Immigration Law Paralegal

In our society, immigration paralegals play a crucial role in assisting those who want to build a new life for themselves and their families in the US. And since immigration law is intricate, applying for a visa can be a challenging process.

A good paralegal for immigration can assist their clients in exploring the process and ensuring that all required paperwork is completed correctly. They also provide valuable legal support, assisting their clients in navigating the often-tumultuous road to citizenship.

Immigration has become a contentious issue in the United States in recent years. However, one thing is certain: Our country would be far less prosperous and vibrant without immigration. Specifically, it has always been an important part of America's success, and it remains so today. Paralegals in this field play an important role as they assist immigrants in realizing their dreams of a better life.

Paralegal in Immigration Law: Bottom Line

Immigration law is a complex and constantly changing area of the law. The current system is clearly inadequate and in need of reform. However, the debate over how that reform should be implemented has become extremely polarized. 

Any reform must begin with recognizing the human dignity of all immigrants, regardless of their legal status. Only then can we begin to construct a system that respects all immigrants and provides them with the protection they deserve.

Immigration paralegal jobs are becoming increasingly important as immigration lawyers and paralegals have seen firsthand how difficult it can be for people to navigate the often confusing and contradictory laws and regulations, as well as how the current system fails to provide an adequate response to the needs of immigrants from diverse regions.