Southwestern Students Design and Implement an Immigration Outreach Campaign
On November 17, Southwestern students, under the supervision of Professor Julia Vázquez, joined volunteer attorneys from the Los Angeles County Bar Association Immigration Legal Assistance Project for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Self-Help Clinic at the Benjamin Franklin Public Library in Boyle Heights. This past June, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and met several key guidelines could request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion.
Inspired by their work with immigrant youth in Southwestern's Immigration Law Clinic, students Stefan Ali, Vanessa Manzi and Vanessa Sanchez worked closely with Professor Vázquez to develop, organize and implement a three-part Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Outreach Campaign. The National Lawyers Guild, Latina/o Law Students Association and Immigration Law Students Association recruited 20 Southwestern student volunteers to assist undocumented youths in preparing their DACA applications.
The full-day self-help clinic was the culmination of the larger outreach campaign which served community members of Garfield High School in East Los Angeles and Robert F. Kennedy Community School in Los Angeles. The first two workshops were conducted by Immigration Law Clinic students as well as Public Service Program (PSP) volunteers. These workshops included a DACA informational presentation as well as an evidence and exhibit preparation working session.
According to Professor Vázquez, "Our law students saw DACA as an opportunity for public service. Thanks to their vision and hard work, the DACA outreach campaign provided legal information and help to over 100 community members who would not likely have been able to afford private counsel." In total, student volunteers dedicated over 120 PSP eligible hours.