We strive to continue to learn and create belonging where possible. If there are terms we’ve missed or a definition below that you believe causes harm in anyway, please reach out to us for conversation.

Accreditation – Process through which non-attorneys become certified to provide immigration legal services through Recognized Organizations. An accredited representative is a non-attorney who both works for a recognized and accredited organization and has demonstrated to the Department of Justice that they have enough education and experience in immigration law to provide immigration legal services. The purpose of the program is to improve access to justice by increasing the number of representatives serving low-income immigrants.

Ambassadors – People chosen to represent our work to mobilize funding and other resources.

Asylee – A person whose asylum claim is accepted and asylum has been granted. Asylees often do not travel as a family unit, but later apply for family reunification visas for immediate family members to join them in the country that granted asylum.

Asylum – A legally protected status granted to foreign nationals in another country who cannot return to their home country due to a “well-founded fear of persecution.”

Asylum Seeker – A person who submits a formal application for international protection from dangers in their home country, but whose application is still pending. Asylum seekers must apply for protection in the country of destination—meaning they must arrive at or cross a border in order to apply. Then they must be able to prove to authorities there that they meet the criteria to be covered by refugee protections. Not every asylum seeker will be recognized as an asylee, but every asylee was initially an asylum-seeker.

  • To win an asylum claim, applicants must demonstrate a well-founded fear of return. An asylum applicant must establish that they have both a subjective and objective fear of returning to their country of origin.
  • The subjective component requires that the applicant demonstrate a genuine fear of persecution.
  • The test for the objective component is whether a reasonable person in the applicant’s circumstances would fear persecution.


Board of Directors – the governing body of Home is Here NOLA, made of up people with lived experiences, who have the final say in major decisions that affect funding and programming.

Communities of belonging – a group of people who create an intentional culture creating the conditions for belonging (i.e. sense of acceptance and ability to contribute).

Community Capacity / Capacity Building – the infrastructure that enables communities to create systems that are more effective, inclusive, accessible, and sustainable.

Community resettlement groups – consist of people with shared values with an intention to function as the primary support network for newly arrived immigrant community members so that newly arrived immigrants can stabilize themselves with dignity and autonomy.

Designated Loved Ones – in recognition of the many types of family structures, these people are defined as close family members for whom you have care responsibilities for or share care responsibilities with (co-parent for example).

Existing community member – Someone who has been living in a place long enough to be knowledgeable about their environment.

Immigrant – A person living outside their country of origin, who has not left their home country because of persecution or violence. Immigrants make a conscious decision to leave their home and move to a foreign country with the intention of settling there. Immigrants often go through a lengthy vetting process to immigrate to a new country. Many become lawful permanent residents and eventually citizens. Immigrants research their destinations, explore employment opportunities, and study the language of the country where they plan to live. Most importantly, they are free to return home whenever they choose. Sometimes, the term immigrant can also include refugees, but the term refugee does not always include immigrants.

Inter-imms and non-inter-imms – among immigrants of all backgrounds and between immigrants and non-immigrants.

KYR – “Know your rights”

Leadership – as of the publication of this manual, this term refers to the two co-directors at Home is Here NOLA. They, along with our Board of Directors, are the decision makers for all things financial, communications, development and operations.

Leadership Council – a group of self or community identified individuals in a role to provide guidance, advice, and/or recommendations on organizational matters.

Legal Partners – Legal immigration service providers and community partners, both individuals and organizations, who support community legal aid models.

Migrant – A person who is moving from one place to another (within their country or across borders), usually for economic reasons such as seasonal work. Similar to immigrants, they have not been not forced to leave their native countries because of persecution or violence, but rather often are seeking better opportunities. Sometimes, the term migrant can also include refugees, but the term refugee does not always include migrants.

Multi-racial relationships of solidarity/Network – Relationships that reflect a commitment to collective liberation and shared purpose, values, and power across racial identities and experiences.

Newly arrived immigrant – Someone who is arriving from another country with the intention to live permanently in the U.S. It is common for newly arriving immigrants to require a period of time to learn how to fully navigate their new environment. Home is Here NOLA defines the period of time that someone has newly arrived to be less than a year.

Partners/Community Partners – other organizations, local, regional or national, with whom we work closely for referrals, projects, funding sources and/or advocacy

Physical Space – a dedicated place to convene in person. For relationships, learning, culture — community-building for support and solidarity.

Power of gathering – See Physical space.

Refugee – A displaced person who has been forced to flee their homeland because of war, violence or persecution, to seek refuge in another place outside their country of origin. They are unable to return home until conditions in their native lands are safe for them again. Refugees that are resettled in a safe third country usually travel as a family unit.

Staff Member – a paid employee – not an independent contractor, board member or other members of the Home is Here NOLA community.

Systems of equity – systems that are designed to identify and overcome intentional and unintentional barriers arising from individual and structural bias. (example: processes and policies that ensure access for all).

Systems of exclusion – systems that are designed to prevent certain people from participating or benefiting.

Thought Leadership – an individual or organization that is recognized as an expert in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and followed by others.


US Agencies:

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – conducts inspections at the border, and it also runs the U.S. Border Patrol, which works to detect and prevent unauthorized entry into the country. CBP is supposed to work within 100 miles of the border, but several courts have condoned Border Patrol activities even further beyond the 100-mile zone. The Border Patrol currently operates up to 500 miles from the border, and considers any water border of the United States to be the same as a land border.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – cabinet-level federal department, part of the executive branch, that oversees ICE and CBP.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – primarily tasked with enforcing immigration laws within the United States. Its broad array of functions includes arresting people to put them into immigration proceedings, managing immigrant detention, and deporting people.

Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) – run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CBP is supposed to transfer any unaccompanied children to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, but because the refugee office is so swamped, hundreds of children have remained in CBP custody.