The Washburn University and University of Kansas law schools will provide legal services this month to people affected by President Donald Trump’s decision to end a federal program offering protections for some undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
The Trump administration announced Sept. 5 it would “phase out” Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. That plan called for an immediate end to first-time applications for DACA status, as well as a 30-day renewal window for those holding DACA status scheduled to expire by March 5, 2018.
The KU School of Law said nearly 6,000 Kansans obtained work authorization and protection from deportation through the DACA program by meeting strict requirements. Many will now need immediate legal assistance to determine their eligibility for a two-year renewal and to process renewal paperwork before the Oct. 5 deadline.
In Topeka, the Washburn Law Clinic scheduled walk-in DACA consultation and renewal clinics from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 15, 22 and 29.
“We’ve gotten calls probably every day requesting information about DACA and we’ve had a lot of inquiries from folks who are wondering if they could qualify to renew or if their status is still valid,” said Gillian Chadwick, an associate professor at WU’s School of Law.
While renewal of DACA status isn’t a complex application, the high stakes and narrow window for renewal have prompted more people to seek advice from an attorney or student intern, Chadwick said.
The KU School of Law also scheduled free legal assistance with DACA renewal applications. The walk-in clinic will operate out of the Douglas County Legal Aid Society office in 105 Green Hall, 1535 W. 15th St. in Lawrence, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Sept. 19-28, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24.
Melanie DeRousse, associate clinical professor of law and director of Douglas County Legal Aid, said all DACA renewal applications must be completed and mailed in time for the government to receive them by Oct. 5.
“The timeline is very short and the consequences of not getting paperwork done in time are extremely harsh in this scenario,” DeRousse said.
KU students seeking assistance can do so through a separate service offered by Legal Services for Students, which is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in Room 212 of Green Hall.
Both Washburn and KU’s law clinics offer free services, but a $495 federal filing fee must be paid.
Those with questions may call the Washburn Law Clinic at (785) 670-1191, KU’s Legal Aid Clinic at (785) 864-5564, or KU Legal Services for Students at (785) 864-5665.
Contact reporter Samantha Foster at (785) 295-1186 or @samfoster_ks on Twitter.