When the Secretary of Homeland Security announced on June 12, 2012, that certain undocumented young people brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own might qualify for deportation relief—families across the country scrambled for assistance. In response, Baylor Law established a Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Immigration Clinic to assist qualified individuals with the cumbersome and sometimes confusing application process.
Under the direction of Baylor Law Professor Laura Hernández and with the help of Waco immigration attorney and Baylor Law alum Susan Nelson, students gained valuable, real-world, hands-on experience as they interviewed and screened applicants, completed the necessary forms, and correlated the evidence to meet USCIS requirements. In the process, they helped hundreds of DACA recipients remain in the country, stay in school, and continue to work without fear of deportation for two years.
Based in an area of Texas with a large immigrant population but lacking qualified immigration lawyers, Baylor Law stepped in to fill the void—producing not only tangible results but some impactful lessons for students. All told, more than 300 applicants received assistance. Likewise, students who volunteered found it equally rewarding as they saw how their knowledge and skills could work to make a difference in the lives of others.
As immigration reform remains a hot-button issue and responsive to the political climate, many of the next steps for immigrants, both documented and undocumented, remains uncertain. As laws evolve, the Baylor Law Immigration Clinic and its student volunteers will remain on the front lines, working to help those in our communities access legal services and accurate advice regardless of their resources.