University of Texas at Austin law students and faculty members will spend part of their winter break as volunteers in the Rio Grande Valley Jan. 7-10, working on projects including free clinics for undocumented high school and college students who may qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The DACA program, which was announced by President Barack Obama's administration in August, provides temporary legal status to eligible immigrants who came to the United States as children. It also allows them to work in the United States for a period of two years.
At the Law School DACA clinics, 42 law students, several faculty members and volunteer attorneys from Austin and the Valley will help high school and college students complete forms and compile documents to file with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The DACA clinics will be held:
- Jan. 7, IDEA College Preparatory San Juan (in the cafeteria), 600 E. Sioux, San Juan, Texas
- Jan. 8, IDEA College Preparatory Mission (in the cafeteria), 1600 S. Schuerbach Road, Mission, Texas
- Jan. 10, The University of Texas at Brownsville, 80 Fort Brown, University Boulevard Classroom Building, Rm. 2112, Brownsville, Texas
Clinic volunteers traveled from Austin to the Rio Grande Valley in December to provide information about the DACA program and to screen high school and college students for the clinics. Students who attended a December information session and have gathered supporting documents will have priority at the January clinics. Other high school and college students may attend a clinic on a walk-in basis.
More information about the clinics is available by contacting the UT Law Pro Bono Program at 512-232-2990 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UT Law Pro Bono Program partnered with the Texas Civil Rights Project to organize the clinics. Valley organizations that helped raise awareness about the program or plan to help staff the clinics include the Minority Council at UT Pan American, South Texas ProBAR and IDEA Public Schools.
The law student volunteers also plan to work with attorneys from Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and the South Texas Civil Rights Project to staff wills clinics in Valley cities. Under the supervision of local attorneys, students will interview low-income property owners about their estate needs and help draft wills for them. In addition, small groups will help the South Texas Civil Rights Project in Alamo assemble immigration petitions for women filing for legal residency under the Violence Against Women Act and work with South Texas ProBAR to assist immigrant detainees. Law students also will teach practical lessons to area middle and high school students on current, youth-oriented legal topics using materials developed by the law school's Street Law student organization.
Press contacts for The University of Texas at Austin School of Law:
- Tina Fernandez, director, Pro Bono Program, 512-232-6170 (work), email@example.com
- Barbara Hines, co-director, Immigration Clinic, 512-232-1310 (work), BHines@law.utexas.edu
- Mary Crouter, assistant director, William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, 512-232-7855 (work), firstname.lastname@example.org