Law students help bring hope to long-time U.S. residents who have immigration issues
Public Relations - Published: December 12, 2012
A group of Widener Law students put some of the skills they’ve been acquiring in law school to work recently, helping members of the community who are concerned about their immigration status.

The Widener contingent, organized by the Delaware-campus Latin American Law Students Association, spent Saturday, Dec. 1 volunteering at the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington. The center hosted a workshop that assisted long-time residents of the United States who are looking to secure a more stable future for themselves through a new government program.

The students assisted people seeking relief through the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process,” an immigration-related program announced in June by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Deferred action applies to people who were brought into the United States as children, without lawful documentation, and who have lived and built lives here since. The program has strict guidelines, but for those who meet them, it offers the potential to be eligible for work authorization and have government action on their status in the United States deferred for two years, subject to renewal. It does not provide individuals with a lawful status.

The process involves significant paperwork over several steps, and the law students assisted at the front end, providing pre-screening services to ensure those who attended were eligible to apply.

“Helping clients that qualified for deferred action was like giving them a Christmas present,” said Claudia Bustamante, president of the Delaware-campus LALSA group. “Their faces and souls were full of hope.”

Students who participated with Bustamante included Jennifer Perez,Wilson Gualpa, Kathy Gabay and Jason Rojas.