From time to time, we receive requests to explain an abbreviation or the agencies that appear in our From the Chair newsletter. The following is by no means a full explanation of the duties of the agencies listed. If you have a question about any other abbreviation or agency, please let us know.


American Immigration Lawyers Association, is the premier immigration bar for lawyers practicing immigration law. Its headquarters is located in Washington, DC, and is fully staffed to bring matters of interest to both the public and the immigration bar. It conducts frequent education seminars for its members and posts a daily update about immigration related matters in the courts, Congress, and the Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Dept of Justice, and the Dept of Labor.


Congressional Research Service is a non-partisan arm of the Library of Congress that publishes research papers in response to an inquiry from members of Congress


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. For a fuller explanation, go to


Department of Homeland Security is home to 22 agencies, among them the Transportation Security Agency TSA), Coast Guard, Secret Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the three agencies that impact the most on immigration related matters, domestically. SEE: for a more detailed description


Dept of Health and Human Services. Has custody and care of children separated from parents as unaccompanied child by Customs and Border Patrol


Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition is a large organization made up of a diversified membership that performs high-profile organizing work on behalf of immigrants and refugees. For a full list of its membership and staff, visit its website,

Refugee Immigrant & Refugee


Metrowest Immigrant Solidarity Network The Metrowest Immigrant Solidarity Network collaborates with the Metrowest Worker Center -Casa. The Workers Center primarily seeks redress for issues of wage theft. Combined the organizations work to create a welcoming community for immigrants in the Metrowest area. During the Pandemic it distributed food those in need. Visit its website for detailed information,


Office of the Inspector General. Each department, and in many instances, agencies within that department, in the federal government, is a resource for Federal employees and the public to report allegations of mismanagement, employee corruption, civil rights and civil liberties abuses, program fraud and financial crimes, and miscellaneous criminal and non-criminal activity associated with waste, abuse or fraud affecting the programs and operations. Information that is received by the OIG Hotline is reviewed to determine if an investigation or referral to a more appropriate entity is warranted. If the allegation does not fall within the scope of a department jurisdiction, that information may be forwarded to the appropriate agency or authority for their review. The matter is then investigated in a non-partisan manner if there appears to be a basis for doing so.


Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse is a data gathering, data research and data distribution organization at Syracuse University, whose purpose is to provide comprehensive information about staffing, spending and enforcement activities of the federal government. It is independent and non-partisan.


Customs and Border Protection. With more than 60,000 employees, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP, is one of the world’s largest law enforcement organizations and is charged with keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. while facilitating lawful international travel and trade. As the United States’ first unified border entity, CBP takes a comprehensive approach to border management and control, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection into one coordinated and supportive activity. For more details see:


Citizenship and Immigration Services. Oversees lawful immigration to the United States. Processes applications for immigration benefits, conducts interviews for permanent residence status (green cards) and naturalization. It consists of 19,000 government employees and contractors working at more than 200 offices across the world.

For more details see:


Immigration and Customs Enforcement. With over 1,100 attorneys, it serves as the exclusive representative of DHS in immigration removal proceedings (deportation) before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (immigration court) litigating all removal cases including those against criminal aliens, terrorists, and human rights abusers. It is a complex organization with several agencies charged with apprehension, detention and removal of undocumented or removable aliens. A full description of its functions requires more space than this page allows. For more details see: