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US Immigration Services for Undocumented Students

UC Immigrant Legal Services Center Paves the Way

Last week’s excitement over the DACA program in the United States soon shifted to a feeling of uncertainty when the administration claimed that they still have not made a “final determination” on DACA. Not only did it generate an unsettling feeling for individuals throughout the country, but the feeling lingered for the 750,000 immigrants who currently depend on the program. Mario Blanco, head of the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, highlighted the free legal services provided by the center in its effort to support immigrant students and their families across nine University of California campuses.

The center has seen more than double the workload this year as students have consistently asked for help regarding their families, travel inquiries, and DACA applications. Universities across the country have asked the center for assistance in creating similar services for their immigrant students. This underlines the notion that academic institutions feel the need to shield their students and create ways for them to legally remain in the United States. Imagine a student who unknowingly comes to the United States as an infant only to realize that he or she is undocumented. What message is the United States sending to the people who are American in spirit but not American on paper? Today, due to the hesitation of the administration, the question remains unclear.

With the help of immigration attorneys, the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center further supports students by preparing them for airport security questions if they decide to travel outside of the country. The center also coaches them on how to respond if they are ever approached by an immigration official. Close to one-third of the DACA population resides in California, so you can imagine the quantity of students throughout the state who heavily rely on the center’s resources. We hope that more universities will follow in the center’s footsteps.

It is imperative that people recognize the importance of the center’s work, especially in the changing US immigration climate. Students protected under DACA are studying economics, chemistry, mathematics, and other important subjects, and we need to understand the vital contributions these students make to academic institutions in America. Their hope is to work in the United States with the freedom of knowing that they are entitled to work and live there. Regardless of the news about the administration’s hesitation towards immigration, we can find some comfort in knowing that there are free services and resources available for immigrants who need them. With the aid of immigrant advocates throughout the nation, we hope that the country will begin to actively seek immigration reform.

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Sources:
  1. "Demand for UC immigrant student legal services soars as Trump policies sow uncertainty." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, n.d. Web. 23 June 2017.
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