A new program connects undocumented students at Palomar with Jewish Family Service of San Diego, which will provide free legal consultations.
SAN MARCOS — Undocumented students at Palomar College now have access to a range of legal services aimed at helping them navigate the U.S. immigration process, thanks to a partnership with Jewish Family Service of San Diego.
As part of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office’s Immigration Legal Services program, students at Palomar can meet with licensed immigration attorneys and Department of Justice-accredited representatives offering a variety of services, including:
- Immigration eligibility consultations
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals
- Family-based immigration
- “Know Your Rights” sessions
- Emergency planning and safety preparedness
“Palomar College is committed to the success of our undocumented students, which at Palomar are disproportionately from Hispanic backgrounds. As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), this program will help ensure that they have access to the legal help they might need to pursue their education,” said Interim Superintendent/President Dr. Jack Kahn.
Izabel Solis, Supervisor of Counseling Services at Palomar, has helped coordinate the program at the college.
“As a participant in this program, Palomar will support the coordination of services for our students, by providing information and hosting workshops for them to become more familiar” with the complex legal issues surrounding immigration in the U.S., Solis said. “We are the bridge to connect students with the agency.”
According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, “California is home to an estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants, and … DACA recipients will contribute $460 billion to the U.S. economy in the next decade.”
“We are a Hispanic Serving Institution, and a lot of the surrounding communities are Latino. But it’s not just for the Latino community,” Solis said. “It’s for any student who is undocumented and wanting to find out their options, or for DACA students needing help to renew their paperwork.”
The legal services are provided free of charge to the student, but any applicable fees payable to the federal government are still the student’s responsibility, under the terms of the program.
“The student schedules a consultation, and if the attorney feels that there’s a case or they can do something for the student, they will do the paperwork and continue to meet with them,” Solis explained. “At our last meeting with Jewish Family Service, they were already serving a lot of our students. I know our counselors and I have made referrals, so yes, students are taking advantage of this program.”