By Juan Calvillo
East Los Angeles College’s Dream Resource Center introduced the center’s newest addition, attorney Stephanie Barrera and updated students with current immigration info on Thursday.
The DRC has been looking to help the undocumented students with legal issues, like Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals, and is currently working with the Central American Resource Center to provide students with legal help.
CARECEN was founded in 1983 and works to help immigrants get legal status in the United States. Elizandro Umana, member of the DRC, said that previously students would be referred to and be helped by the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, but the option to continue that partnership changed and the DRC has sent students off-site for additional legal help until recently.
“Now with this new grant, directly with the state, and in partnership with CARECEN, now, not only are we able to just provide in house services, but now, once we get back, we’ll have Stephanie (Barrera) there throughout the week,” Umana said.
Katya Alvarado, student ambassador for the DRC, said that students had been coming in for quite some time asking for DACA renewals and paths to citizenship. She said that this was one of the reasons the DRC worked so hard to get resources, like Barrera, to be at ELAC. Being at ELAC allowed her to help not only students, but faculty and staff that had questions, said Barrera.
She said that CARECEN is currently working with community colleges across the state and that she is in charge of helping not only ELAC, but also Rio Hondo College and Los Angeles Trade Tech. Barrera said that if students were from colleges she did not cover they could contact her and she would be able to get them to the proper attorney.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the current administration has changed things when it comes to immigration, most recently with the Presidential Proclamation that stops immigration into the United States. Barrera said that this is more of a symbolic gesture to the president’s base and that many consulates have already closed, not allowing people to immigrate.
She said currently that the ban is effective from April 23 to June 22. Barrera said that there might be some concern among students when it comes to the Supreme Court’s decision on DACA. She said that the decision is more than likely going to come in June or July. Students who have DACA renewals within the next year should immediately make an appointment so that the filing process can begin.
Her work with students through CARECEN takes care of all the costs for filing the applications. Barrera said that if the Supreme Court’s decision upholds DACA, the fees for applications will more than likely rise. She said the fees will go up an additional $275 dollars. Barrera said that she is available to help students with immigrations services now.
She said that she can refer students to other resources if they have other legal issues, but that immigration is what she is focused on. “I’m focused primarily on the immigration aspect of it. And it’s not only DACA. I’ve had a lot of individuals come just to see if there’s any opportunity to adjust their status. I’ve had a couple of new visa applications coming my way. So things like that,” Barrera said.
For more information students can visit the DRC social media page on instagram @elacdreamresourcecenter, e m a i l t h e D R C a t firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-415-5483