Valley Immigrant Advocates (VIA) in Ottawa was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as an organization that possesses the structure and status to provide representation through accredited representatives who appear on behalf of clients before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The recognition is good for two years. Valley Immigrant Advocates is located at 1400 N. LaSalle Street in Ottawa, Illinois.
The DOJ has approved the application of Octavia Davis as an Accredited Representative. A letter received this month from the DOJ said “we are satisfied (Octavia Davis) possesses the character and fitness and broad knowledge and adequate experience in immigration law and procedure to practice before DHS.” Octavia’s accreditation is good for three years.
Octavia has, for the past two years, served VIA as a paralegal, interpreter, and translator. She previously volunteered with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas interpreting client screenings in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and interviewing people held in detention centers in the El Paso area.
VIA’s Executive Director John Breslin says the dual accreditations are good news for the Illinois Valley. “Having Octavia’s skills and training recognized by DOJ essentially doubles the amount of legal service VIA can provide to area residents seeking help with immigration matters. And gaining accreditation for VIA, created just two years ago, makes our not-for-profit agency one of only a few DOJ accredited agencies outside Illinois’ metropolitan areas equipped to offer free or reduced fee services to those who qualify.”
In addition to local grassroots funding, VIA has recently been awarded funding from the State of Illinois and the Illinois Funders Collaborative a group of 20 private foundations in Illinois to further expand VIA’s mission: Providing a pathway for immigrants to full participation in our communities and our country.
For more information visit VIA’s website www.valleyimmigrant.org or call the office at 815-587-3330