Because justice extends beyond my zip code
March 20, 2013
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How can we stretch to reach youth in rural areas?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – or DACA – offers a promise of work authorization, a driver’s license, immigration relief, and economic self-sufficiency.
But only if we can get legal assistance to the youth who are eligible.
So, we learned recently that youth living in Humboldt County have nowhere to turn for legal advice about whether they are eligible and how to apply for the new federal immigration relief program called DACA (short for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). There is no nonprofit legal organization that provides legal assistance in immigration in their county. There is nowhere for them to receive free legal help to understand the program and whether they should apply – even if they were able to travel as far away as Santa Rosa. And access to the DACA program is a very big deal – it offers access to work authorization, a driver’s license — basically the opportunity to have economic self-sufficiency and help provide for their families. But without the legal assistance to understand the program and apply – the promise of the DACA program simply rings hollow.
So how can we stretch – as a state, as a profession, simply as people who care – to reach these kids?
Earlier this month, a team of law students from University of San Francisco School of Law traveled over 600 miles round trip on the Justice Bus – with a wonderful immigration attorney from La Raza Centro Legal – to bring legal help to these amazing youth. Running two clinics over two days, the law students provided 29 youth with immigration and DACA assistance. Their testimonials above tell their personal stories about why they traveled all that way to use their skills to give back. We are so lucky to have such committed volunteers!
And it was heart-breaking to leave, knowing that unless the Justice Bus is able to return these kids and others like them will simply continue to go without any access to legal advice and assistance. We are so grateful to everyone who has donated to the Justice Bus Project and our Children’s Legal Aid Fund that makes these trips possible. We are 100% committed to raising the funds necessary to return to Humboldt again. We welcome you to join our efforts – as a donor, volunteer, or both!
Recently OneJustice also had the terrific experience of partnering with Legal Services for Children on the video below that engaged DREAMERs and youth leaders in San Francisco in explaining the DACA program to other teenagers. The video is being used as part of a public education and community awareness-raising campaign. We were honored to be involved in supporting Legal Service for Children’s work in this area – and we plan to use the video in reaching out to the more rural and isolated counties, as well.
Want more information about DACA? Check out the resources at Legal Services of Children’s page here.
Want to help support Justice Bus Trips doing DACA clinics? It’s easy to give online here.
Have suggestions and ideas about other ways our network can support these youth? Let us know! We welcome your ideas – comment here or on our facebook page!