A long day offers DACA applicants great relief
It was a long day, but a very satisfying one for University of the Pacific McGeorge Law School. Faculty, future lawyers, and volunteers pulled together to help 135 young people – most still in school, and all undocumented – apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. It took four copiers working nonstop to prepare the mountain of paperwork necessary for the applicants to file for limited immigration relief.
Marina Alba, a 31-year-old woman from Mexico, attended the community events, and then did follow up with the Immigration Clinic at McGeorge to complete her application. Ms. Alba said that she is grateful for the help. “Everyone was very nice and treated me well and was very attentive and professional.” She also said that without their help she would not have been able to afford the necessary legal fees.
The DACA fair was a culmination of four prior community events where applicants received one-on-one consultations on DACA eligibility and help with the application. Eighty law students from McGeorge Law School participated in the project along with local immigration attorneys who volunteered their evenings and Saturday to make the event a success.
“We serviced 200 DACA applicants, some of whom were advised not to apply,” said Professor Raquel Aldana. “The process for applying was challenging because applicants had to prove seven factors, including continuous residence in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.”
“For people who have lived in the shadows, suddenly being asked to prove where they have been for the last five years was no easy task,” Aldana said. “We each gave the community at least 36 hours of direct legal services and saved the applicants tens of thousands of dollars.”
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