Monday, October 25, 2021

VIISTA online certificate training to represent asylees/refugees

Michele R. Pistone, Professor of Law at Villanova, shares that registration is open for an online certificate training program to teach immigration law and practice. The Villanova Interdisciplinary Immigration Studies Training for Advocates (VIISTA) program trains students to become immigrant advocates ready to serve migrants and refugees without requiring a JD. So far VISSTA graduates have been serving refugees and Afghan asylum seekers, among other types of work.

The program was developed to increase representation for immigrants, who are not guaranteed rights to court appointed lawyers in immigration court, by educating legal advocates (akin to nurse practitioners in health care). Graduates will be eligible, under existing regulations, to apply to become Department of Justice “accredited representatives,” authorized to provide low-cost legal representation to migrant and refugee families when they work for DOJ "recognized organizations."


  • Learn from renowned faculty at the forefront of immigration and advocacy
  • Develop practical skills in immigrant advocacy
  • Explore immigration law and practice
  • Gain insights into why people migrate
  • Transform the legal services experience for migrants and refugees

Founder Pistone reports that some VIISTA students tend to fall in 3 categories: PhD students or college professors who want to learn about immigration law to supplement their own teaching and or research, retiring lawyers who want to spend their retirement years volunteering with immigrant serving organizations, and staff members who work with immigrant communities or in service-learning programs on campus.

Here is a link to the website for more information and registration, Here is an article about VIISTA from the Chronicle of Higher Education. And here is an article about the critical results of representation from Vera Institute


Conferences and Call for Papers, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink


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