October 24, 2012
It was a long day, but a very satisfying one for McGeorge students, faculty and staff volunteers on Oct. 20, as the law school community pulled together to help 135 young people apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status.
It took four copiers working nonstop to prepare the mountain of paperwork necessary for the applicants, most of them students and all of them with no legal status, to file for limited immigration relief under an executive directive issued by the Obama administration in mid-June.
The fair, the fourth annual immigration event held on campus, was a culmination of four prior community events where applicants came to receive one-on-one consultations on DACA eligibility, bars to filing, and preparation for filing.
“When these events are considered, we serviced 200 DACA applicants, some of whom were advised not to apply,” Professor Raquel Aldana, one of the organizers, said. “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. “On Saturday, many of us worked a full 12 hours, and that added to the average six hours of the prior events (24 hours), we each gave the community at least 36 hours of direct legal services and saved them tens of thousands of dollars.”
Clinics Director Dorothy Landsberg, ’87, Professor Blake Nordahl were the key organizers of the event. Brian Lopez, ’11, served as the chief of operations, and staffers Carla Hoime and Daria Milton pitched in with the blizzard of paperwork.
“We had 80 students participate in the project. In particular, Samuel Park, Scott Dyle, and Rachel Balchum were smart, professional, selfless, and just wonderful in their dedication to the project,” Aldana said. “There are so many other people from the McGeorge community I could name. We sincerely thank them all. All should be very proud of their contribution to such a worthy cause.”
“Finally, thanks Dean Mootz for supporting these efforts and believing in both community engagement and experiential legal education. Saturday was Law Day as well, and many of our prospective applicants saw what McGeorge can do,” Aldana added. “I think they left with a very good impression.”