Immigration Legal Services

At Church World Service (CWS) in Orange County, California, our trusted Legal Team is dedicated to providing personalized attention and high-quality service in our clients’ immigration matters. From helping you apply for Family-based Visas or Employment Authorization to protecting your interests with preparation of Asylum or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applications, we are equipped with the passion and professional skill to support you and your family. We stand by your side and bring more than 15 years of experience to your case.

What is Asylum?

Asylum is a form of protection which allows an individual to remain in the United States instead of being removed (deported) to a country where he or she fears persecution or harm. Under U.S. law, people who flee their countries because they fear persecution can apply for asylum. If they are granted asylum, this gives them protection and the right to stay in the United States. Those who are granted asylum are called asylees.

Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

If you are eligible for asylum, you may be permitted to remain in the United States. To apply for asylum affirmatively or defensively, you may file a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within 1 year of your arrival to the United States.

What is TPS?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of certain countries experiencing problems that make it difficult or unsafe for their nationals to be deported there.

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States.

The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
  • An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions

Our Services

  • United for Ukraine
  • Asylum
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) replacement/correction
  • Humanitarian Parole
  • Afghan Legal Services

Legal Team

Joyce Komanapalli Jones, Esq.


Kourosh Karimi-cherkandi

Immigration Staff Attorney

Kristels Zamora


Joel Rodriguez

Senior Paralegal

Elizabeth DeFrance, J.D.

Associate Director for Immigration Legal Services

Iva Panayotova, J.D.

Staff Attorney

Birendra Chhetri

Immigration Counselor

Kristen Pollock


Khovaja Samir Seddiqi



Your gift empowers the work of welcoming refugees, immigrants, and asylum-seekers into lives of freedom, hope, and opportunity.


Stay Connected

Follow us on Social Media and Subscribe to learn more about how we support refugees and immigrants in Southern California


Operating Hours: 9am-5pm
Tel: 949-438-1066