Immigration Institute continuing free legal services for students

Representation and consultations remain free of charge despite DACA ruling


Luis Ramirez

“The help IIBA gave me to get my DACA, to keep renewing it, helped me get through the various stages of college.”

Aidan Lindell, Staff Writer

The Immigration Institute of the Bay Area is continuing to offer free legal services for California community college students. This is despite a recent court ruling preventing immigrants from applying for the DACA program.

The IIBA is a nonprofit that provides legal aid to undocumented residents in the Bay Area. As a nonprofit, it strives to keep prices for services as close to zero as possible. According to their website, the institute was formed in 1918 and has a history of assisting migrants fleeing persecution, war and other hardship. 

Since 2019, the IIBA has been focused on making services as affordable as possible for community college students. Among the services listed on the IIBA’s official website is assisting with citizenship applications, green card applications, renewals of DACA registration and applying for new visas. To qualify as a community college student, you only need to be enrolled in one community college course at the time of consultation. 

These services are still available even as a recent court ruling impacted DACA’s ability to operate. On Oct. 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program can no longer accept new applicants. In the ruling, Chief Judge Priscilla Richman wrote that no part of the law “authorizes DHS to broaden the categories of aliens who are entitled to lawful presence in the United States.” 

IIBA Caseworker Luis Ramirez said this ruling has impacted attitudes among IIBA workers and clients, adding that they’ve received a lot more calls about DACA specifically. 

“Students are still worried that in a few months there’s going to be a new battle over DACA,” said Ramirez. 

If this happens, the worst case scenario is all these DACA recipients will “go back to being fully undocumented.” 

DACA provides assistance to people who were taken across national borders at a young age. Ramirez is one such person, having signed up for the program in 2013. Before then, he said he “did not see myself going to college,” nor could he imagine being able to get a job after college. Once DACA came along and issued him a work authorization card, he said he was finally able to pay for college.

Helping him through this process was the IIBA. He credited the institute with helping him to renew his DACA form and keep his work authorization. 

“The help IIBA gave me to get my DACA, to keep renewing it, helped me get through the various stages of college,” Ramirez said. 

He is now debt free. 

The institute has received positive reception outside of its faculty and members. Robert Delgado, from the LMC Equity and Inclusion Office, said that the Office is “happy to collaborate with IIBA to provide student services.” 

“The resources they provide to students are essential to their success,” said Delgado, “Especially with DACA.” The IIBA has seven offices across the Bay Area, with the closest to LMC being the Brentwood office. If you or someone you know is interested in the services it provides, you can visit the website at, or call (925) 237-8581.