National Pro Bono Week (October 21-27) is coming to a close, but today is just the beginning for many immigrant youth in Napa County, who will be one step closer to adjusting their immigration status thanks to today’s Justice Bus Trip with attorneys from Fenwick & West and Legal Aid of Napa Valley.
These youth are known as DREAMERS, after the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (pending in Congress). These kids entered the United States as children under the age of 16, have lived here for at least five years, and are either in school, have graduated from high school, earned a GED, or served in the military. For many of them, the United States is the only country they have ever known as their home.
This past June, the Obama administration issued an order that allows these youth to apply for what is known as “deferred action for childhood arrivals” (a formal reprieve from deportation), and when they are approved, they able to get work permits and help support their families.
California has by far the largest number of youth eligible for this new program – almost 300,000 kids. As you can probably imagine, the phones of California’s nonprofit legal organizations started ringing off the hook as soon as the new program was announced – and the nonprofits in the OneJustice network are swamped with requests for help.
Fenwick attorney volunteers travel to Napa County today
Today, during National Pro Bono Week, Fenwick & West attorneys are boarding the Justice Bus and committing their time and energy to helping to meet the need in Napa County, in partnership with the Legal Aid of Napa Valley. The volunteer attorneys will be providing essential legal assistance and advice to the youth and completing the legal forms required to apply for the program.
This wonderful group of law students from McGeorge School of Law traveled to Napa County on the Justice Bus to help the youth prepare for Fenwick’s clinic today.
The Fenwick attorneys are the second phase in this particular Justice Bus series. Just two weeks ago, a group of students from the McGeorge School of Law did their own Justice Bus trip to Napa to screen youth for the program and help the kids begin to gather all the necessary documentation for the clinic staffed by Fenwick attorneys today.
Thank you to Fenwick & West, McGeorge School of Law, and Legal Aid of Napa Valley for being there for these youth in this pivotal moment in their lives. What an amazing way to close national Pro Bono Week!
For more information about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, check out this great resource page from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC).