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We exist to provide legal, Language, and citizenship resources to the immigrant community in North Carolina.

Immigration Legal Services

Immigrant Connection is a Department of Justice Recognized Office that provides low-cost legal consultations to individuals who are seeking assistance with issues relating to immigration:

  • ^Family and Marriage Based Petitions
  • ^Naturalization Petitions
  • ^Lawful Permanent Resident
  • ^Employment Authorization Renewals
  • ^Adjustment of Status
  • ^Consular Processing
  • ^DACA
  • ^Temporary Protected Status

If you need advice or assistance with any of these services, or simply need help understanding what options you may have under the law, you can schedule an initial consultation with one of our Legal Representatives. During the consultation, we will carefully review your case and make sure you understand the benefits and risks associated with your situation, then offer you advice on how to proceed.

Immigrant Connection of the High Country also offers interpretation/translation and notary public services.

English Language Services

Conversation Connection is a conversational English class that provides more than just language instruction. It’s a safe space to practice English, enjoy good coffee, and make new friends. A personalized curriculum has been developed to meet the needs of the attending learners who speak four or more different languages and vary from illiterate to highly educated. Each week a lead teacher offers a lesson related to everyday living and then non-native speakers are paired with English speaking volunteers to discuss provided questions.

Citizenship Preparation Classes

Immigrant Connection of the High Country offers citizenship preparation classes to assist adult learners with the successful completion of their naturalization process. These classes focus on the English literacy and civics knowledge needed for passing the test, as well as information about their rights and responsibilities as American citizens.  Class time includes mock interviews, vocabulary practice, and custom curriculum to ensure success. Classes are currently held at our Wilkesboro location.  Contact the office for information in other locations.

Our Team

Carrie Afanador is a DOJ Accredited Representative and Site Director for Immigrant Connection of the High Country (ICHC). She is believes that everyone deserves a place to call ‘home’ where they are treated with dignity and respect. Her dream is that ICHC will be a place of welcome and belonging for anyone who finds themself far from home.  Along with community partners, volunteers, and a committed staff, ICHC offers not just legal, language, and citizenship services, but, more importantly, it offers hope.   

She was previously Director of Clinical Education in the College of Education at Appalachian State University.  She also has served as Director of Children’s Ministry at a local church and taught at various levels in Virginia Beach, Colombia, China, and Cameroon.

She has a degree in English education from Cedarville University and Master’s of Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  She lives with her husband, Francisco, and their three children in Boone, NC.

Graham Aitken is a DOJ Accredited Representative and is excited to support the important work at Immigrant Connection. He currently serves as Co-Lead Pastor at The Heart Church in Boone, primarily overseeing all community partnerships and outreach initiatives.

He has a degree in Business Management and a Master’s of Intercultural Studies from Trinity International University in Chicago. He lives with his wife, Elizabeth (Lizzy), and two children in Boone, NC. 

Mariana Arguello serves as Immigrant Connection’s interpreter and administrative support.  She effortlessly bridges languages and cultures to help clients understand their legal situation.

She has interpreted/translated for 21 years for individuals and organizations both within the United States and abroad. She graduated from the Ultimate Medical Academy with honors. Mariana lives with her husband, Kevin, and three sons in Boone, NC. 

Amy Todd-Paine is passionate about helping immigrants have the tools necessary for navigating their new communities and believes that language acquisition is a key component of that process. She coordinates Conversation Connection, a weekly language gathering designed to increase proficiency for all levels of English-learners. 

She loves the classroom and teaching literature and language to students of all ages. Amy and her husband, David, are pleased to call the mountains of Appalachia home, and along with their three sons, they enjoy serving internationals in any way. 

Imke Nickelson

Imke Nickelson supports Immigrant Connections’ Citizenship program by teaching citizenship classes and developing a citizenship curriculum that meets the needs of non-English speakers.

Imke has over 30 years of experience in teaching and curriculum building. She is a strong believer in teaching as a means to building self-confidence, raising self-esteem and preparing all learners to achieve their life-goals.

Imke began teaching immigrant classes in her native Germany during the early 1990s. After receiving her  Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University in 2002, she continued to teach courses in International Relations at Duke for about a decade. She also co-directed the Focus Program on Humanitarian Challenges at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.  In 2011, she decided to leave academia in order to homeschool her two children from elementary through high school. Following her children’s graduation, she has returned to teaching outside the home.

Imke lives with her family in Todd, NC, where she serves as the worship coordinator for her church and is active in various community organizations.



Legal Services

A $50 office fee is due at your initial legal consultation and must be paid prior to speaking with our Legal Representatives in addition to any office or federal filing fees that will be required for your case. Bring all documents related to your case. Consultations are by appointment only.

English Language Services

Conversation Connection Classes are free and run on 8-10 week cycles on Wednesday evening. Childcare is provided and transportation can be arranged.

Volunteer Opportunities

Connect as a language partner, teacher, or legal assistant.

Contact our office at 828-278-9302 or to schedule an appointment or for more information. Se habla español.

Visit Us

Appalachian Enterprise Center
130 Poplar Grove Connector
Boone, NC 28607

We are a part of the Immigrant Connection National Network of church-based immigration legal services offices and a ministry of Alliance Bible Fellowship.

© 2023 Immigrant Connection of the High Country