Bakersfield College is partnering with the California Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the California Department of Social Services and the UFW Foundation to provide Immigration Clinics for Bakersfield College students, staff and faculty. The services will include general immigration consultations as well as assistance on DACA renewals, citizenship, family petitions, FBI and background checks, adjustment of status, and visas.
Funds were provided by the State of California’s 2018-19 Budget, which earmarked $10 million for the California Department of Social Services to contract with nonprofit organizations and deliver immigration legal services to California community college students across the state. Bakersfield College is one of 65 hub colleges participating in the Community College Immigration Legal Services Project.
“We’re honored to be a hub for the California Community College Immigration Legal Services project,” said Zav Dadabhoy, Vice President of Student Affairs at Bakersfield College. “We have a long-standing relationship with the UFW Foundation and are excited to work together again to uplift BC students with the support they need to achieve their educational goals.”
The Dreamers Project Report identified that access to free or low-cost legal services is one of the top three concerns for undocumented students in the California Community Colleges system. To address this need, the California Department of Social Services, the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office partnered to establish the Community College Immigration Legal Services Project.
“Guided by the identified challenges and recommendations included in the Dreamer’s Project Report, the Chancellor’s Office and Foundation for CCC have been focused on implementing systemwide change that ensure undocumented students are supported in their educational journey,” said Lizette Navarette, Vice Chancellor of Facilities and Planning for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. “We are excited to address one of the top three needs of this population with the California Community College Immigration Legal Services Project, in partnership with the California Department of Social Services. The project will increase access to legal representation by a qualified provider, during this most tumultuous time for undocumented students.”
“Bakersfield College has always supported all of our students with a wide array of support services to guide them on their educational journey,” said Imelda Valdez, Director of Student Services including Extended Opportunities Programs & Services and AB540. “We are committed to supporting our undocumented students, providing counseling and holistic support through our AB540 Support Program.”
The AB540 Support Program provides counseling and services to undocumented students attending Bakersfield College who are eligible for in-state tuition exemptions. The program helps students reach their goals, whether they are seeking an occupational certificate, associate degree or to transfer to a university.
"We are proud to be able to provide high-quality free immigration legal services to all Bakersfield College students, faculty and staff members,” said Sofia Corona, Directing Attorney of the Community Colleges Project at the UFW Foundation. “We look forward to hearing about their needs and how we can help them achieve their educational goals.”
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all immigration clinics will be held virtually via Zoom or telephone until further notice. These virtual Immigration Clinics will be held every 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday of the month from 9 AM to 6 PM. The next virtual Immigration Clinic will be held Thursday, May 28th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If Bakersfield College students have an urgent or time-sensitive matter, they are encouraged to call the UFW Foundation at (661) 324-2500. DACA renewals are being prioritized at this time. Fee Assistance is available to students with economic need until the allocated funding is exhausted. Bakersfield College students, staff and faculty may email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive instructions on scheduling appointments.