Dozens of families lined up outside of the University Interscholastic Center on Manor Road on Saturday, papers in hand, ready for the 10th free Immigration law clinic sponsored in a partnership with the University of Texas School of Law and its Pro Bono Program and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. The clinics have been held for four hours on Saturdays since last semester to offer free legal services for families applying for assistance with benefits for immigrants allowed under a recent policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The Austin American-Statesman reported in December that the DACA program announced by the Obama administration in August 2012 allows a potential two-year reprieve from deportation and work permits for some immigrants who came to America as children. A recent New York Times story suggested that the policy action has had far-reaching effects, including spurring immigrants who have never sought legal help before to apply for assistance for the first time:
“More than 438,000 people have applied for deferred action, and more than 411,000 have been scheduled for fingerprinting and photographs for background checks, the second step in the process. By some estimates, as many as 1.7 million people could be eligible for the reprieve under the program, which is open to people who meet certain conditions, including that they entered the country before they were 16 and were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.”
More than 600 individuals have been helped through the local law clinics. The final DACA clinic will be held from 1-5 p.m. at Southwest Keys/East Austin College Prep (MLK Campus), 5800 E. Martin Luther King Boulevard.
To sign up for the clinic, call (512)232-1292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org