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Free Legal Aid for Undocumented UC Students

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on June 23, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Are you eligible for DACA? Do you know how to apply? Are you afraid to study abroad because you're undocumented?

Undocumented students of the University of California system can now get their legal immigration questions answered for free.

The University of California has taken an unprecedented step. The network of universities opened the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center in November of last year to provide free legal aid to undocumented students and their families.

The center is based at UC Davis School of Law, but students at other campuses such as Santa Cruz, Riverside, Merced, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco can also see attorneys at their schools. At the center, students can get help with a range of issues, including:

  • Applying for or renewing DACA
  • Applying for adjustment of status
  • special permission to leave the country

Many praise this program as an exceptional resource for addressing the special needs of undocumented students. However, some argue that the UC system should not limit free legal aid to undocumented students and immigration issues.

Other than the center, there are many other resources where you can get free or low cost legal aid. If you need legal help but cannot afford a lawyer, consider these options:

  • Local courts' self-help centers -- Many courthouses have self-help centers where you can get help with your legal paperwork. On-staff attorneys can help you determine what forms you need to get a restraining order or to file for divorce. However, these attorneys will not represent you in court.
  • Law school clinics -- Most law schools have free clinics staffed by students and supervised by professors.
  • Private attorneys -- Many attorneys give free consultations. Some will negotiate a flat fee to do a specific matter for you. Some will even take your case on for free depending on the circumstances of your legal issue.
  • FindLaw's Learn About The Law -- FindLaw's Learn About The Law is a great resource with many articles explaining a wide range of legal topics. If you have general questions about an area of law, you may be able to get answers from Learn About The Law.

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